A Mac user without a backup plan is a Mac user destined for disaster. No backup? Murphy’s Law applies. ‘Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.’ And, sooner or later, it will, so it makes sense to back up a Mac.
Experienced Mac users with an extra disk drive or two attached to their favorite computer likely use Time Machine (along with another backup app, perhaps to sync the Mac into a bootable backup), and as easy as Apple makes it to retrieve a seemingly lost file or an older version of a file, there are issues, and ways to fix them. Here are two Mac apps that do the deed.
Time Machine is an easy app to use, but, typical of Apple, doesn’t come with many controls to monitor or manage what gets backed up. That’s where Back-In-Time and BackupLoupe come in. Both apps pick up where Time Machine leaves off.
Back-In-Time is the most expensive of the utilities but has a few extra tricks. Any file or folder can be located and retrieved on any Mac Time Machine backup, including the popular Time Capsule. The interface is a bit confusing, partly because there is so much information available when viewing files from the past.
Multiple browser windows within the app can be opened to display details for multiple Time Machine disks. That makes it easy to copy, recover, and even preview files from the past. Back-In-Time features an extremely fast and useful search function, and, once a file is found, it’s easy to preview or drag and drop back to your Mac.
If you have multiple versions of the same file, Back-In-Time can find those, too, and it makes restoring easier. All it’s doing is giving you more granular controls and access to the files already in Time Machine.
BackupLoupe is a bit different and provides as much information about your Time Machine backups as it does tools.
Any file can be restored via drag and drop, but BackupLoupe also identifies which files take up the most space in the Time Machine backup. It’s also easier to find files and previous versions. Click on an item in the Finder and the context sensitive menu displays all the revisions of a file. That feature alone is worth the price of admission.
Other expected features are built in to BackupLoupe, including Finder and Path Finder integration, and a laundry list of statistics about the backup itself? And, of course, it handles multiple Time Machine backups, too.
I like Back-In-Time’s browse feature which is application specific (a feature Apple would do well to include in macOS Sierra’s Time Machine), but having all those statistics is a plus, thanks to BackupLoupe. And, of course, even more important than either app is a backup plan that gets implemented regularly. Why? Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.
Soon macOS High Sierra will debut and that brings some massive file system changes to the Mac, so make sure both Back-In-Time and BackupLoupe are compatible before you browse those backups.