Nowadays we almost take it for granted that we can access our online data anywhere and anytime. And wonderful and convenient though cloud computing may be, the truth is that storing everything remotely is a somewhat risky strategy. What happens to your personal data if your account is hacked? Or what happens if the company folds? And if you don’t have any backups of your Gmails, and there’s a data centre fire, then your emails could also be going up in smoke. These may be unlikely scenarios, but they are nonetheless possibilities and so it’s important to ensure you backup your online data offline so that you can still access it if a catastrophe were to occur. What’s more, it’s surprisingly easy to do so. In this article, we look at how to backup offline on the major platforms.


All of us share so much on Facebook that it’s a good idea to start your backup here and it’s also a very simple process. Go to your Facebook settings page and then click ‘download a copy of your Facebook data’. Next click ‘start my archive’ then enter your password and confirm your choice. Facebook will email you when the download is complete. You can then open the index page in your browser and start looking through all your old posts, conversations and photos going right back to when you first joined Facebook. And so all your precious memories will now be backed up on your computer.


To obtain copies of old Gmails go to your Google account page and click on ‘control your content’ and then ‘create archive’. Be sure to tick ‘mail’ and then use the drop-down menu to restrict your download if you want to specific labels. Then click ‘next’ to choose an archive file type and delivery method. Your emails will then be delivered to you in an mbox format and you can import them into a variety of common desktop email clients. Or you can use whatever export options your email program has to convert your messages into another format such as plain text.


If you use Twitter to share photos and memories then it’s a simple task to download your whole timeline. Head to your Twitter settings page and click the ‘request your archive’ link down at the bottom. Twitter will email you a folder of assets and an HTML file that ties it all together. You’ll then be able to browse your tweets, photos or videos by year and month.


If Instagram is more your thing then the best way to back up your photos and videos is to save them to your camera roll at the same time as posting and they can then be backed up from there. Look out for the ‘save original photos’ and ‘save videos after posting’ options on the app’s settings screen, which can be accessed through your profile page.

Make sure you protect your personal data by downloading or backing up on a regular basis. That way you won’t lose any valuable information or memories.