When it comes to backing up your Mac’s files, no single app does everything I need to do.
I want files copied from one Mac to another. I want some files synchronized between multiple Macs. I want a bootable clone of my Mac’s hard disk drive. I need all the connections, copying, syncing to happen on a schedule without bothering me. If I could only have one app to do all that, this is the one.
The Backup Bias
When it comes to backing up files, synchronizing files, making bootable clones of my Macs, archiving and copy files, I’ve developed a biased attitude.
Yes, I try out new backup apps all the time.
No single Mac backup app does everything on my check list perfectly.
That said, if I could only use a single Mac app, ChronoSync would top my list. Here’s my bias. SuperDuper! and Carbon Copy Cloner make superb, bootable, clones of a Mac’s hard disk drive. That’s undisputed.
The problem has to do with copying files from one Mac to another, synchronizing other files between Macs. Perfect clones? Yes, but neither is really appropriate for the other needed functions.
ChronoSync uses the standard Target (Source) to Target, left window and right window metaphor. The toolbar is straightforward so getting up a copy or sync won’t strain the gray matter.
Simply select your Source (folder, hard disk drive, network device, or Target) and the Target destination. Then select the Operation from the pull down menu above the arrow (which changes depending on the selection).
The setup can be saved for future use, including a timed schedule for the backup or sync. For folder backups, copies, or syncs, the Trial Sync button will go through the motions and give you a list of what will happen when you click Synchronize.
That’s the easy part. From then on ChronoSync gives you more options than you can imagine. Just remember that among the plethora of options are back ups, copies, syncs, and clones—and tweaks to make sure you get what you want. Perfect backups.
Options include settings for Errors and Conflicts, File and Folder handling, Archiving, even email notifications. More esoteric options include Rules and Filters, an option to Analyze what will happen during the copy/clone before it happens, and Archive file options.
The key to using ChronoSync is to start with basic steps between Macs or between your Mac and an external hard disk drive. ChronoSync synchronizes specific folders and files between Macs so what you get on one is what you get on the other.
A Backup differs in that files are copied from one location, your Mac, to another location—an external drive, another Mac, a network volume, and so on. The Bootable option copies everything on your Mac’s hard disk drive to another disk, and makes it ready to be used as the startup disk drive for your Mac (or any other compatible Mac).
What I like about using ChronoSync is the stability and dependability.
Once set up, it just works.
But it requires some patience to set up (compared to SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner duplicates). Backups and syncs are very fast, and the Scheduler makes it happen without user intervention. On time. Any encountered errors trigger an email message or notification.
ChronoSync can be set up to make backups and syncs based on specific rules. For example, when a file or folder is changed. While it works great when set up, the options can be bewildering and require plenty of tinkering.
Multiple ChronoSync settings can be stacked in Containers and performed by the Scheduler one after the other. Some Mac backup apps that do far less, actually cost more than ChronoSync. I recommend you try it out, start with a simple backup, then advance to a sync from Mac to Mac, then to a full on clone. Avoid all the archive, scheduling, filtering, and rules options until you’ve gain some experience using ChronoSync.