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Backing-up or syncing your data, what’s the difference?

Syncing and backing up are two different processes that are often misunderstood as being the same. They serve different purposes, function in distinct ways, and interact differently with your files. Understanding these differences is crucial for effective data management and protection.


Syncing is the process of manually keeping files consistent across multiple devices or locations. When you make a change to a file in one location, you need to manually sync that change to update the file across all other locations where the file exists. This ensures that you have access to the most up-to-date version of your files from any device, which is especially helpful if you're using multiple devices interchangeably.

However, syncing also means that changes, even accidental ones, can propagate across all devices if you choose to sync them. For example, if you delete a file or make a minor edit on one device, this action can be mirrored across all other devices if you manually sync the changes. This includes overwriting previous versions of a file if you sync a more recent version.

It's crucial to manage your files mindfully when syncing. It's your responsibility to ensure that the version being synced is the most complete and recent. If you're working on multiple devices, make sure you save and close files after making significant changes, before syncing them to another device. The icons in the grid-view can help you understand where the most up-to-date version of a file is located, whether it's local or in the cloud. When syncing, ensure you read all cloud notifications carefully before choosing an option

To understand this better, our article About the Sync Feature provides more in-depth information.

Backing Up

Backing up is the process of making a copy of your data and storing it in a separate location, such as an external hard drive or a cloud storage service. The purpose of backing up data is to protect it in case of system failure, data corruption, or other types of data loss.

Unlike syncing, changes or deletions made to the original file do not affect the backup, unless you use the same name for a new file, in which case the new file could overwrite the old one in the backup. This means that if you accidentally delete a file, or if an unwanted change propagates across your devices due to syncing, you can recover the original file from your backup, as long as it hasn't been overwritten by a new file with the same name.

In Nebo, you have the flexibility to back up your entire Nebo library, a specific page, or an entire notebook

In Summary

While both syncing and backing up involve making copies of your data, the key difference lies in how they respond to changes or deletions. Manual syncing provides an ability to keep files up-to-date across devices, but it also carries the risk of propagating accidental changes or deletions if not managed carefully. Backups, meanwhile, provide a safety net against data loss by preserving a snapshot of your data as it existed at the time of the backup, as long as the backup files aren't overwritten by new files with the same name.

Both processes are crucial for data management. Careful file management when syncing, coupled with regular backups, offers the best protection against data loss.

Note: Syncing is not included in the free version of Nebo for iOS. To utilize syncing capabilities, an upgrade to the full version of Nebo is required via a one-time in-app purchase.

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