Chances are pretty good that your Mac backup plan has a big, fat, flaw. Alright, you clone your Mac daily. And, you use Time Machine. Plus, you copy important files from one Mac to another. You’re still missing something.
Wait. That’s a three-pronged backup system. It’s flawless, right? Not so fast. Where’s the solution to a catastrophic event. Flood, earthquake, theft, fire. All those could render your current backup scheme worthless. Fix the flaw with Arq.
Problem, Meet Solution
This problem has been staring us in the face for a couple of decades. A backup from your Mac to an external disk drive doesn’t provide much of a solution when catastrophe strikes. Yes, if your Mac goes wonky, having a cloned-drive to hook up to another Mac is good, but what if the house burns down, or a flood sweeps it all away, or a thief walks in and walks out with everything?
An online backup of critical files is important and that’s what Arq does. It copies your Mac’s critical files from your Mac to an online storage service; Amazon S3 or Glacier, Google Drive, and others. Automatically, in the background, and then incrementally; which means the backup occurs only when files on your Mac have changed.
Arq is easy to setup and use. Just select the files you want to backup, and enter your online storage account details.
What you’ll find is that Arq is a bit like using Time Machine. Once the initial backup is completed, additional backups are incremental; just uploading files that have changed on your Mac since the las backup. And, like Time Machine, Arq keeps hourly backups for a day, daily backups for a month, and weekly backups for anything older than a month.
Backing up online is different than backing up Mac files to local storage. An external disk drive can be huge and cheap. Online storage tends to be small and expensive and you pay by the month. Arq helps out with a built-in budget minder which you set to whatever limits your account needs.
Arq even sets up multiple target zones so you can use more than one online storage service. Put some files on Amazon S3 or Glacier, other files on Google Drive, still others on Microsoft OneDrive, or elsewhere.
Arq doesn’t care what size your files are. It can be set to backup an entire external disk, or specific files and folders on your Mac. It won’t delete an old backup unless you want it to. Files can be restored back to any computer.
What about file compatibility? Many online services can mangle a Mac’s files because of the special metadata used by OS X. Nothing handles Mac files and metadata better than Arq, including resource forks, ACLs, and creator codes.
The whole idea behind Arq is to fix the flaw in most Mac backup plans. But Arq also has a Windows version. Even better, there’s a try-before-you-buy option. If you’re a Mac user who cares about your files and believe in and have multiple backup schemes, Arq is the one that does online backups better. As an example, Amazon’s Glacier storage can be less than 1-cent per gigabyte. Or, put another way, about 70-cents a month for 100-gigabytes. Apple charges $2.99 for 200-gigabytes.
That makes Arq and Amazon a good deal for mid-range storage (just remember why it’s called ‘Glacier’). As is usual with online storage, the first backup takes the longest, incremental backups happen silently and quickly in the background.