Best Mac backup software: 6 apps tested

“All Mac users should have a backup routine. It’s as plain and simple as that,” Chris Brennan reports for TechRadar UK. “However, many people don’t; they are complacent and trust their hardware. Those people also run the risk of losing everything – music, movies, photos, and documents. Everything.”

“Time Machine is built into the Mac and in typical Apple fashion, it looks great and just works. It is, it seems, the perfect backup tool for your Mac. However, our advice is to use Time Machine in addition to another backup tool,” Brennan reports. “A belt-and-braces approach will reduce your risks of data loss to an absolute minimum. There’s nothing wrong with Time Machine, of course, and its incremental backups can be invaluable, but it’s not the final word.”

The apps we tested:
• Carbon Copy Cloner – FREE
• Chronosync – $40 (£24)
• Get Backup Pro – $19.95 (£12)
• Intego Backup Express – £6.99
• SuperDuper! – £18
• Twin – €39 (£34)

Read more in the full article here.

23 Comments

  1. I f’in LOVE SuperDuper! (and the exclamation point is part of the name, actually). It has saved my ass twice. First time, it was the free version when my iMac’s internal disk croaked. I bought a new disk and just copied the clone onto it, and booted right up. I sent a thank-you note to the developer along with a payment for the full version.

    Then last week it saved my ass again, when installing a piece of crappy software (PGP Desktop for Lion) borked my machine. SuperDuper! is worth every penny.

    BTW, MacGPG (at gpgtools.org) works fairly well and doesn’t bork your Mac.

    1. I’ve used SuperDuper for years, and I too have been delivered out of bad situations with it’s help. Just having a bootable back-up is awesome, and it has an interface that is one of the best made, explaining every step and action. I use it in concert with Time Machine and think they are great defense against calamity. I’ve always thought SuperDuper should be bundled with every Mac sold.

  2. I’ve used both CCC and SuperDuper and echo Mac Daddy’s comments above about SuperDuper.

    Periodically making an extra backup/boot drive (or disc) is just plain smart. If you’re ultra-cautious, keep a backup at work (in case of a fire at home).

  3. About three years ago I tested all available software for synchronizing files across multiple macs, and the hands-down winner at that time was Chronosync. I’ve been using it ever since, almost every day, and I’ve often wondered if I surveyed the market again would I get the same result. But since Chronosync is so good there’s no reason to care anymore.

    Note my interest was in synchronizing, NOT backing up.

  4. I’ve used Chronosync for a long time. Developer says upgrades are free, forever. As the “other” (second) backup tool (in addition to Time Machine), it is very useful and flexible.

    Originally, I used it to keep a work folder on a Windows laptop “in sync” with the equivalent folder on my desktop Mac. It syncs BOTH ways, meaning the version of the file that changed or was added since the last sync is kept (or placed) at both locations. If a particular file is modified at both locations since the last sync, the program pauses and asks which one to keep. The end result is two folders at two locations that are identical (and you can set it to archive deleted files).

    More recently, I have been using it to back up selected folders to a second location on my local network. I use Time Machine as the primary backup of “everything” to an external hard drive connected directly. There is a very small, but not insignificant, chance that the primary drive and backup drive will I fail at the same time. So I use Chronosync to back up my most important folders to a second location.

    There are also folders I exclude from Time Machine, because I don’t want an hourly archive of changes. I use Chronosync to make “on demand” backups of those folders.

    I use Carbon Copy Cloner only when I want to make an exact duplicate of a volume (such as my startup disk just before upgrading it from Snow Leopard to Lion).

  5. I simply use Disk Utility for personal weekly bare-metal rotating off-site backups (and, while it lasts, the MobileMe Backup app for nightly backup of key active documents). I have used both CCC and SD extensively in the past for server backups, but found minor ongoing annoyances in them both, and finally switched to using the raw “asr” command in a script.

  6. I’m a huge fan of Crashplan for my cloud backups. I’ve tested just about every major online backup service out there at some point, and Crashplan is by far my favorite.

    Also take periodic backups of my systems using CCC in addition to my Time Machine backups.

    I’ve also used SuperDuper in the past, and it is also a great utility.

  7. Good to back up Time Machine. Mine broke, and had to pay the local store to get stuff off of the drive for $70. Apple should be able to do better than that.

    1. Time Machine is my primary backup method, and I trust it. I have restored several times as a test (not because of a failure), just to make sure it works properly and I understand how it works (how to do it). And in one recent case, my iMac’s internal hard drive did signal impending failure, so I used my Time Machine backup state from the previous day to restore (after replacing my iMac’s old hard drive with a new one). The process work exactly as I expected.

      The power of Time Machine is that it backs up every hour that the Mac is in use, in the background. It does not depend on ME to remember to do a backup. And I’m not going to manually run some annoying backup process once a week, let alone once per hour. If there is a hard drive failure, my Time Machine backup is up-to-date to within one hour. To me, that’s very reassuring.

      But there is a small possibility that my primary hard drive AND backup hard drive will BOTH fail at the same time. Therefore, I use a different (secondary) method to back up my most critical user data to a separate location.

  8. 1 for Crashplan. Incomplete is the backup plan that does not include offsite storage. And the set it and forget it simplicity of cloud backup is worth far more than its $60 a year price.

  9. Backup software is only good if you have a good backup. I prefer software that automatically backup’s your software to the cloud. This way you always have an update backup.

    I am not going to plug the software I use even though I am extremely happy with it since there a few to pick from.

  10. I’ve had problems with Time Machine, but not since I upgraded to Lion.

    I have a 1 TB Firewire 800 external Lacie for Time Machine, another bootable for SuperDuper!, and a USB 1 TB using SuperDuper that I keep off-site.

  11. Time Machine every hour and CCC daily on different portable drives, both taken off site whenever I leave the house. ChronoSync periodically on a desktop external drive. SugarSync for cloud backup. Some call me paranoid, I say you can never do too much backing up.

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