After that, there are umpteen dozen Mac apps that do syncs and backups from one folder to another, one Mac to another, or across a network. All have their features and benefits, and most focus on one thing. Backing up important files. What they don’t back up are your Mac’s apps.
Think about the difference. Files get backed up. Apps don’t. If you’re not cloning your Mac’s hard disk drive, how do you get all those apps back up and running?
The App That Backs Up Apps
Appbox is a relatively inexpensive Mac backup app with a different view of backups.
It backs up apps and app settings to a different location so you can quickly move them, either to reinstall, or move to another Mac.
I’m not advocating Appbox as the be all end all of Mac backup solutions.
It’s not. It’s different, but it has merit for some uses. If you’re looking for a typical backup solution, keep looking. But if you have a need to backup and restore only your Mac apps and settings, this might be a worthy way (though I prefer cloned backups).
Appbox is simple enough. Start it up and you get a long list of all the apps on your Mac. Click to archive each app and related settings (another problem area).
Appbox purports to grab app settings and preferences, too. Restoring is straightforward. Click an archive to begin the restore process.
Appbox begins the restore process from the archive and copies the apps and related files to their new destination.
All of this sounds exactly like something you could use to re-install apps on a new Mac, right?
If only life were that easy. Mac apps leave files scattered all over your Mac. Some are in the Preferences folder. Some are in the (hidden in Lion) Library Applications Support folder. Others may be placed in the Documents folder.
In my tests, Appbox couldn’t find all the files for every app, missing some crucial preferences or support files. If all you need to do is copy the app to a new Mac, Appbox might be worthwhile.
My personal preference is to keep an external hard disk drive with all apps, with supporting files and folders and preferences, ready to go into backup mode at any moment.
Since Appbox really needs an external disk drive or external location to be effective, you might as well clone your Mac in that direction instead.
The number of ways to backup a Mac are endless. Try 4 Reasons To Use An Arq To Backup Files To Amazon. Yes, Amazon. There’s also 2 Free And Easy Ways To Backup Your Mac (among others). Or, just recognize that The Best Mac Backup App Costs Nothing.