Backing up files on your Mac is one thing, synchronizing files is another, and automatically syncing files between folders while you work is something else.
Until this week I was certain I’d seen every Mac backup and file sync app. Here’s an elegant app that syncs folders. Mac to Mac. Mac to another disk. Mac to a remote computer. It watches the folder and syncs only when a file changes.
Auto Sync Folder To Whatever
Here’s the thing about backups and file syncs. They’re either scheduled to backup or sync, or require some manual effort to backup and sync.
Wouldn’t it be great to have an app that watches your files and when a file changes on your Mac, the change is synchronized with another folder somewhere else?
Apple’s Time Machine does a nice job of making copies of files that change, but it does so only every hour, not instantly.
FolderWatch is an elegantly designed Mac app that syncs files between folders while you work. It’s not scheduled or manual. It just works. In fact, the way it works is rather ingenious.
The app continuously monitors the files in a specific folder (you choose). When a file changes within the folder, it instantly connects and syncs the changed file to the sync folder. The sync folder can be on the same Mac, a different hard disk drive, a different Mac, even a remote server.
Setup requires a few steps to get started. You’ll need to identify the folder and files you want synced, and where you want them synced.
You start with a folder and end with a folder. Check off a few advanced items like Settings, filters for preserving meta data, or including or excluding specific file types or files and folders.
After the setup comes the forget it.
FolderWatch monitors what goes on in your selected watch folder. When you change a file, add a file, remove a file (depending on your setup preferences), FolderWatch syncs accordingly.
FolderWatch does quick behind-the-scenes syncing because it only copies the difference between the source and destination files and folders.
You can set it up to filter out some file types, some folders, or specific individual files.
The same source sync folder can be used to sync files and folders to multiple target destinations. If you’re using Growl notifications (please; you’ll like it), FolderWatch will let you know what it just did.
Regardless, there’s also a log that keeps track of copied and deleted files. FolderWatch is a handy, highly focused app which can be used for backups, for syncs between devices, and it does it behind the scenes, in the background, while you work.
The negatives? FolderWatch uses the built-in Rsync in Mac OS X. Changes to files are not recoverable, as there’s no archive setting. Don’t use it if you need Administrator access to the files to be synced. It’s only available at the Mac App Store and there’s no try-before-you-buy option.
For a few dollars more, you could use the highly acclaimed and far more robust ChronoSync, but it doesn’t have an auto watch feature.