Yearly Checklist

Happy new year! It’s a great time to complete those yearly things that are easily forgotten during the rest of the year: backups, privcy opt-outs, and software updates.


If you don’t already have a daily backup system for your regularly-used files, set that up! Backblaze or SpiderOak are great options. If you already have this set up, now is a great time to make sure it’s working properly and that you could access your files if your computer died.

If the service that hosts your email or contacts goes down, how would you access that data? You couldn’t! So next, focus on data that is not stored on your computer. The list of places you should back up will be unique for each person, but here are some common places:

  1. GMail, Google Contacts, YouTube, etc. - you can download your data from any Google service pretty easily from Google Takeout.
  2. Email
  3. Password manager
  4. Calendar
  5. Contacts
  6. Reddit submissions/comments/upvotes
  7. StackExchange
  8. Twitter


First go through sites like Simple Opt Out to update your privacy preferences for websites and services you use. If you use credit cards, don’t miss those opt-outs (Visa/Mastercard)

Next, on your mobile phone, review app settings and disable any access (for example, location access) that an app does not reasonably need. (on iPhone: Settings > Privacy)

Finally, if you don’t yet use the uBlock Origin browser extension, install it. If you already have it installed, make sure it’s getting updated with the latest blocking lists (also do this for any similar blocking system like Pi Hole or DNS blocks).

More: Three Tips to Reduce Personal Data Tracking

Software Updates

Make sure your Operating system (like Windows) has all security updates installed. Check your home router firmware and make sure you’re on the latest version. Bonus points if you check other IoT devices like cameras, etc.

I periodically write about technology, maps, open data, and other software topics. To get updates about new posts:

See Also