Unless this is your first day using a computer, you have likely suffered data loss at some point in your life. You’ve also probably had someone tell you about the importance of backing up your data. Unfortunately that advice usually only comes after data loss. In fact, you might even be reading this after so much has happened.
Macs aren’t as impervious to computer problems as we once thought. While the problems aren’t identical, Macs share many issues with their PC cousins. They are susceptible to their own brand of maladies that can result in lost files, disabled hard drives and even, outright failure to start. Fortunately, you can protect yourself by finding the best mac backup software available to you.
Apple started making Macs with built-in backup software with the release of OS X Tiger in 2007. For your most basic needs, Time Machine will work though it is not a total backup solution and it does nothing for those still working from older, PowerPC Macs. Those are just two reasons why most Mac backup software is not just backup software.
Our top pick, Data Backup might be the one for you with its high-end compression capabilities that maximize your storage. Or take a look at our Silver award winner, Tri-Backup for it aging features that cycle out only the backups you know you no longer need. Then there’s also ChronoSync that you can deploy on every Mac on your home network. Further, down, we have CopyCatX that works for most of your data recovery needs. There are probably as many brands as there are applications, but we’ve only picked the best. Read our articles about mac backup software to learn about our own discoveries along the way.
It’s surprising how many shapes and sizes Mac backup software come in, considering they all do basically the same thing, which is take your data from your hard drive and copy it to a more secure location. When beginning the search for a great program, remember you will need a secure location to store your data. For this, you can either look into partitioning your current hard drive, which means setting aside a portion of space on your hard disc that is separate from the portion that your computer will use during its day to day processes, like a bank vault. If this sounds a little too complicated, you can always acquire an external memory device such as a flash drive or external hard drive. These connect to your computer, usually through a USB connection, and can store anywhere from a few gigs to a few terabytes of memory. The range of devices is wide enough that you can easily find one in your price range and that will be enough to store your sensitive data. Once you’ve got a place to store your data, then it’s time to decide on what you need in terms of Mac backup software. Here’s what to look for.
All the programs we reviewed will help you move your data to a secure location. What you need to decide is what you want to store and how you want to get it there. Most programs allow you to create customizable lists of folders and locations for the Mac backup software to watch and then save. Most programs will allow you to write “scripts” which means setting up a list of functions the program will perform once you hit the action button.
If you’re worried about keeping your data secure, look for a program that will protect your data with a password. Other programs track all the changes you make to files, even if you delete them; this is referred to as archiving. If you accidentally delete a file, some programs allow you to dip into the backup hard drive archive and retrieve it. Most programs that offer archiving will also allow you to compress this data so it doesn’t take up massive amounts of space in your destination drive. Most importantly, you need to choose a program that will facilitate the storage of your data onto your preferred device, ranging from flash drives and external hard drives to CDs and DVDS to online network servers.
Once you’ve safely secured your data on your backup hard drive, it’s no good if you can’t easily return it to your main hard drive. Most Mac backup software programs rely heavily on the Finder utility, allowing you to search your collection and simply drag and drop it back onto your hard drive. Others will walk you through a full system restore from a bootable copy. Some data will only work if it’s in the correct location, which some programs will even replace the data with their original file paths so no data is orphaned on your hard drive. Other programs will help you keep track of those changes you made in your files, and allow you to walk back through each step to restore your document before you accidentally saved over it.
Ease of Use
Above any flashy design or grouping of tools, you need a program that is easy to use. If a Mac backup software program has lots of features, but makes it difficult to use them, then chances are you won’t go through the necessary steps to keep your data safe. A program that makes it easy to use means you’ll use it more, meaning your data will be regularly up to date. Some programs can even be automated via a scheduling function to run when you aren’t at your computer. They’ll wake your computer up from its sleep and save your data. This is great because it won’t interrupt you from your work for backups in the middle of a deadline crunch. An easy to use program is a must.
Help & Support
While most of these programs are relatively straightforward in their execution, sometimes you’ll find yourself scratching your head. It’s important to choose Mac backup software that offers a variety of methods to find answers to your questions, whether that is through a direct email to the developers, or on a user forum thread, or nestled away in a user manual or FAQs. The more resources you have to answering your questions the better.
Figuring out which is the best backup for mac is not rocket science, but there is the challenge of finding the one that best suits your needs. We have gone through the ten best Mac backup applications to help you find the one that works best. Hopefully the one you choose will be the last one you need.