What should every Mac, iPhone, and iPad owner have? A backup. For iOS, backups are managed two ways. First, iCloud. That works very well to store everything important, and even allows all applications and settings to be downloaded to a new iPhone or iPad with ease (even if it takes awhile).
The second way is more cumbersome and requires a schedule. Back up an iPhone or iPad to a Mac or Windows PC. That gets you a cloned backup, encrypted if you prefer, of everything on either device, and restoring to an old or new device is much faster and more accurate.
What about the Mac?
A recent and glaring headline crossed my eyes and made my eyes cross while reading the article.
Stop Cloning Your Hard Drive As A Backup
Simply put, if you have been cloning your Mac as a backup, DO NOT stop cloning your hard drive as a backup. Bad advice, folks. The people at MacMost are coming to a backup system with an odd perspective that I cannot agree to, and nobody on the entire Villager’s staff agrees with the premise or the reasons or the resulting reader argumentation.
What should replace a cloned backup? Time Machine. Ugh. No way, Jose. The Mac’s built-in Time Machine backup option is merely one– and not the only one– way toward a comprehensive backup system
iOS and Mac backups are not the same. The Mac has applications from third party app developers, Apple itself, and the Mac App Store. Assume your Mac’s hard disk drive dies, and you can restore your Mac to macOS High Sierra, and then re-download all applications from the Mac App Store. Third party applications would need to be reinstalled one at a time.
What about your files? You know; everything stored in Documents. Without a backup, those files are lost. There’s a better way but it’s not to rely on Time Machine.
Macs can be restored from Time Machine but the effort takes many hours; time which is lost forever. Time Machine backups are notoriously buggy. Any files created on your Mac in the hour or hours prior to the hard disk drive dying or the Mac itself dying are lost.
In essence, Time Machine is not to be relied upon. Yet, neither is a Mac clone. But a clone has advantages.
First, using SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner or any other cloner app means your Mac and everything on it, gets cloned to another disk drive. That means the disk drive can be used to start up, almost instantly, on another Mac. Downtime is reduced. You can also test a cloned disk drive to ensure it’s working as expected. A daily clone ensures that, at most, only a day of files would be lost, but that’s where Time Machine comes in, so we recommend both.
Assume your Mac and its hard disk drive died. A cloned Mac can also clone itself to a new Mac’s disk drive and within an hour or so you’re back up and running as you were before the event.
Any advice to stop cloning your Mac’s hard disk drive is bad advice. Relying solely on Time Machine is bad advice. The Villagers have always recommended a multi-pronged approach to a backup. Clone, Time Machine, critical file backups, Amazon S3 or another online backup, and, more recently, iCloud or Dropbox for Documents. A cloned Mac is the simplest backup system.
Yes, an iCloud backup that works the way iCloud does on iOS would be great, but we’re not there yet. Read the MacMost article, then view the video, then read the reader comments. Priceless.