Through the years I’ve used a few dozen Mac back up tools. From free to expensive, from complex to simple, Mac back up apps are everywhere.
What many Mac users want and need is a simple, straightforward back up system. Select the files you want to back up. Select a destination (disk drive, disk image, DVD or CD) to back up the files. Click. Done. How hard can that be? For free?
Back Up Only What Needs To Be Backed Up
Today I look at two point-and-click Mac back up apps. Both are free (though one has a Pro version). Both are simple to set up and use. One does much more than the other.
One app uses back up profiles to make the process easy.
The other can also clone your Mac’s hard disk drive but features simple back up settings for your most important files (Documents, Movies, Music, Photos, Preferences).
If you’re unsure what back up method you want to use, this is a good place to start.
iBackup, Therefore I Am
iBackup is a free back up and restore app for modern Macs. It’s not set-it-and-forget-it, but it works well for basic back up and retrieval operations.
iBackup has predefined settings so you can make back ups of System Preferences, Mail (and attachments), iPhoto photos and movies, iTunes music and movies, and hundreds of other specific settings.
iBackup lets you set Profiles to back up, including files, folders, destinations, and schedules. It can connect to servers or other Macs (or, specific folders or attached disk drives), and keeps a detailed log of every back up. The Plugins list is extensive and includes Address Book, Fonts, Dashboard Widgets, iCal, iLife apps, Keychain, and other valuable files and folders.
Not bad for free, huh?
Get Backup (not Lennon and McCartney)
Get Backup takes a similar approach but provides a few extra tricks, and a migration path for even more features.
One of my favorite features is the ability to create a bootable back up of your Mac’s entire disk drive. That requires the expense of another disk, though recovery is nearly instant. Get Backup does automated back ups and syncs (to other Macs, other disk drives, even CDs and DVDs).
Specific app integration is provided for iPhoto, Mail, iTunes, and Address Book.
The Pro version extends the feature set by providing incremental back ups (faster), file encryption (safer), selective restore options (faster and easier), and the all-important two-way synchronization (great for Mac to Mac syncs).
Both iBackup and Get Backup are worthy free options when you’re ready to venture beyond Apple’s built-in Time Machine. Get Backup Pro is dependable but short on features when compared to other Mac back up solutions.