The Mac has long needed a built-in backup application to preserve important files to CD, DVD, a network file storage device, or another Mac. .Mac users now have Backup 3.0. Is it worth $99 a year?
Apple introduced a long-awaited revision to a much reviled backup application called, creatively, ‘Backup.’ It was one of those applications I loved to hate.
Why? It just didn’t work very well. Now, as part of the $99 .Mac account, Apple offers more storage space, more goodies, and Backup 3.0. Is it worth it?
This Backup is different and not the same animal (thankfully). The new Backup is aimed at backing up your digital iLife, and comes with a variety of preset backup plans.
What gets backed up? Start with iPhoto files, iTunes libraries, and, if you squeeze your eyes shut, you can imagine backing up iMovie movies, iDVD projects, and GarageBand projects.
You just won’t back up the latter to your .Mac account.
You’re not limited to the one-step, one-click preset backup plans, either. Customize the preset plans or create one just to your liking. Backup makes to process rather simple.
Didn’t like the previous versions of Backup? You were not alone, as Mac users flocked to other backup solutions like SuperDuper! and Deja Vu and Retrospect and the like. Why? Backup couldn’t be trusted to backup.
How is Backup 3.0 better? It’s new from the ground up, has a new scheduler, and takes advantage of Spotlight search to find any and all files you need to backup.
Better yet, Backup 3.0 isn’t limited to a single function. Add files to your ‘backup plan.’ Browse, use Spotlight, or grab whole folders, all preferences, or just a few.
For the first time, Apple might be on to something with this Backup. Except the price. You need to be a .Mac member to make this work. Of course, if you’re cool, you’re a .Mac member. I learned that during Step 9 of my Reality Distortion Field Anonymous meeting.
Backup 3.0 doesn’t seem to care where you backup. iDisk. CD. DVD. External FW drive. Another hard drive.
Plus, the backups are not only scheduled (I report, you decide), they can be set to be incremental. That means only files that have changed actually get backed up. That saves time and bandwidth.
The added storage to the .Mac account will now come in handy. Here’s hoping that Apple figures out a way to speed up using the iDisk storage, otherwise, 1 gigabytes could take until NFL playoffs.
The .Mac Family Pack allows for 2 gigabytes of storage and the .Mac account can be extended to family members, groups, etc.
In putting Backup 3.0 through the paces, I set up an external hard drive for the Home directory, and used .Mac for select files (bookmarks, preferences, and other files important to backup off site).
In fact, it’s the ‘off site’ feature that may keep me using the .Mac account and Backup.
Backup is simple to use, easy to figure out, and seems to do well in copying files to another volume, and copying select files to the iDisk. Once I had a few backups, I backed up again, in much less time.
Glitches? None. Yet. Judging from the history of glitches in previous versions of Backup, I’m cautiously optimistic.