There’s a better way, and that includes any one of a dozen Mac sync and backup utilities available for free or for a few dollars. But what if you want to compare the files between the two folders before doing the sync? That’s a trick but there’s an easy solution and it’s free.
Sync, And Ye Shall Backup
The idea behind the almost free Compare & Sync Folders app is not just a quick copy or backup. What it does is carefully– but very fast– compare the files in the sync folder so the files you want to sync are synced wherever you want them.
That means Compare & Sync Folders is excellent for backing up files and folders to other Macs, external disks, but also flash memory cards, folders on iCloud Drive or Dropbox. The free part of the app lets you sync two folders. But an in-app upgrade gives you more sync options, including back and forth.
To be fair about it, I consider the free version to be more of a trial version so you can see some of the basic features, but the ones you’ll really want– bi-directional syncing, for example– will cost a few bucks.
The claim to fame here is the first word in the title. Compare & Sync Folders. Comparing files can tell you right away which files on the destination– or the bi-directional sync– will need to be replaced, but it also displays the differences between files.
Because backups can be critical management issues, Compare & Sync Folders will save deleted files, and it gives you controls over minor differences that may show up in a folder of files, and options to resolve file version conflicts.
The full version comes with 9 sync modes, 6 different comparison modes, 5 search modes, and 11 filter modes so you can do a comparison of files between folders that goes deeper than deep. Even with all the features add, Compare & Sync Folders still tops out at less than $8 which makes it something of a bargain for the Mac user that needs a very specific sync operation to occur during a backup.
It’s highly recommended but try it first.