Let’s give some props to Apple for iCloud backup; iPhone and iPad. It works. Lost or fried your device? All you need is your Apple ID and everything comes back home; later than sooner, but it gets there. What about the Mac?
Apple’s solution for a backup is Time Machine. We consider Time Machine to be next to nothing. There’s nothing, and then there’s Time Machine. Everything else is better, but far more complicated than restoring your iPhone or iPad. Allow me to give a quick and dirty primer on all the backups you need, but with Time Machine at the bottom, where it belongs.
Clone – Whether you use SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner or ChronoSync doesn’t matter as much as the fact you’ll need to invest in a second hard disk drive for the Mac and clone it. The apps can be set up to run automatically, and if and when your Mac dies, the cloned hard disk drive (or SSD) gets you up and running instantly. High recommended.
Auto Cloud – Getting your Mac’s back up out of the house or office is a plus, and we have always recommended BackBlaze to do the job. The app runs in the background, eventually copies everything you need to get restored, but you pay by the month. Forever. No cloud backup system is more Mac-like.
iCloud – If you don’t mind a somewhat protracted restore process after a catastrophic event, iCloud Drive works. Not only can you store Photos, Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Keychain, Notes, Reminders and more in iCloud,but you get the option of grabbing your Mac’s Desktop and Documents folders and saving them on iCloud, and they can be synchronized with other Macs, plus iPhone and iPad.
Extra Cloud – For many years we’ve recommended another off-premise backup solution for critical files, so this option is less about backing up the Mac– it doesn’t do that– than it is about backing up critical files to yet another location. ARQ is the app. Or, is it Arq? I forget. Either way, once you get over the geekiness, Arq lets you backup a Mac’s critical files out of house or office and handles very large storage requirements, thanks to an option to run on Amazon’s S3 cloud storage.
macOS Catalina is here. That means it’s time to backup again.