Experienced Mac users know the problems with modern technology gadgets. Files need to be backed up because, well, things happen. Murphy’s Law is a real thing. I like this one. “Anything that can possibly go wrong, does.” Another is, “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.”
Applied to Mac users it means if you don’t have a backup plan, sooner or later, something will go wrong and you will lose data. I know many, many Mac notebook users without any backup plan whatsoever. What about backup plans? Just remember: “If anything can go wrong– it will.”
Send In The Clouds
Anyone with a Mac notebook that does not have a regular backup routine is asking for trouble. Mac users with a backup plan need to have one that is multifaceted and tested. Here’s the problem. Backups are something extra to do, and that means many Mac users just don’t bother.
Apple responded with Time Machine, a simple, elegant, behind-the-scenes way to keep your Mac backed up. It’s free, built-in to each Mac, but it’s only one facet of a backup plan. About 80-percent of Mac users have Mac notebooks running on Wi-Fi, and setting up a wireless backup system is not trivial. Even Apple has disbanded its own Airport and Time Capsule router business.
So, what constitutes a good backup plan for Mac users?
iCloud for iPad and iPhone has a nearly comprehensive backup plan. iCloud backs up iPhone and iPad settings, and since all apps come from the App Store, restoring a device from iCloud is trivial. Go through the device setup process and head out to lunch. When you get back almost everything on your device will be restored.
The Mac doesn’t have a good iCloud backup plan. Why not?
Many Mac apps do not come from the Mac App Store. iCloud will store the basics– Photos, Mail settings (but not messages), Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Notes, and more. And, if you don’t mind paying a few dollars for more iCloud storage, everything on your Mac’s Desktop and Documents folder can be backed up.
What’s not to like? It’s a single point of failure, ripe for a Murphy’s Law event. That means a multi-faceted backup plan is the only way to go. Here’s what I use these days.
- Carbon Copy Cloner – backup each Mac as a clone to an external disk drive, and a clone to an office NAS (which isn’t easy to setup for the average Mac user). SuperDuper! and ChronoSync are excellent options, too.
- iCloud Drive – This can be setup so that each Mac has almost all the necessary files available when catastrophe occurs; files like Photos and Documents show up on each Mac.
- Amazon & Arq – Like iCloud, Arq and Amazon S3 are easy, simple, automatic ways to backup files not easily backed up with iCloud, including Movies, iTunes Music, and, for me, another Documents backup, plus a disk image clone of my Mac backed up to Amazon S3 (easy to create if you have an Amazon account).
That three part, multi-faceted approach covers most of the bases and Murphy’s Law goes into effect when all fail at the same time. You’re backed up with clones at home or office. You’re backed up with iCloud on Apple’s servers. And with Amazon and Arq, you’re backed up online with both a clone of the Mac and all files not easily backed up in iCloud.
Local clone, iCloud files backup, and cloud backup of clones and iCloud files.
iCloud backup is automatic. Carbon Copy Cloner has a scheduler. Arq runs in the background. So the entire backup process can run automatically and unattended.
Not bad, right? What’s your backup choice and how does it overcome the potential catastrophic failure with Murphy’s Law predicts?