Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac, 4th Edition

Book description

Set up a rock-solid backup strategy so that you can restore quickly and completely, no matter what catastrophe arises.
Version 4.0, updated May 4, 2021

Joe Kissell provides the advice you need to create a Mac backup strategy that protects your data and enables quick recovery. He compares backup software, services, and media to help you make the best choices. You’ll learn to set up, test, and maintain backups, plus how to restore files after a calamity!

Creating and maintaining a solid backup plan is essential to anyone who uses a Mac, in order to prevent the loss of important data if disaster strikes—whether through hardware or software failure, theft, human error, or other mishap. In Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac, Fourth Edition, tech expert Joe Kissell explains how to design a sensible backup strategy, choose and configure the best backup hardware and software for your needs, and understand how to make your backups as painless as possible. His advice is equally useful to those who have never had a backup system and those whose backup systems are in need of an update.

The fourth edition, a major rewrite, fully delves into the new challenges presented by Big Sur, M-series Macs, and the ever-changing landscape of Mac backup hardware, software, and cloud services. It features entirely rethought advice about bootable (and non-bootable) duplicates, backup media, and disk formats, as well as changes in Time Machine and the weird world of APFS snapshots.

This book covers macOS 10.14 Mojave through macOS 11 Big Sur.

Using this book, you’ll learn how to:

  • Design (or update) the ideal backup system: If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll find all the information necessary to assemble a reliable and easy-to-use backup system. If you’re updating an existing system, you’ll learn about what’s new in hardware, software, and online services that might affect the way you back up your Mac in the future.
  • Choose backup software: Apple’s Time Machine is both free and easy to use, but it’s not the best choice for everyone, and even if you do use Time Machine, you’ll certainly want to supplement it with other tools. You’ll learn about key features to look for in a backup app and find tips on using several popular tools. You’ll also discover the pros and cons of cloud backup services, and get help choosing the right one. (An online appendix covers dozens of apps and services.)
  • Shop for hardware: Depending on your needs and goals, you may need one or more external SSDs or hard drives, but the range of options (sizes, interfaces, speeds, and more) can be bewildering. Joe helps you find the best backup hardware, whether it’s individual SSDs or hard drives, RAIDs, NAS devices, or other options.
  • Make and maintain backups: Once you’ve selected hardware and software, you’ll need to know how to make your first backup, set up your backups to run unattended, and test them regularly to make sure they’re working as they should. This includes both versioned backups (which contain old file versions and deleted files) and---for some users---bootable or non-bootable (data-only) clones. And, you’ll learn about strategies for keeping extra backups offsite.
  • Operate Time Machine: If you choose Time Machine for versioned backups, you’ll learn how to back up and restore individual files, app-specific data (such as contacts), and even an entire disk. You’ll also discover why and how to encrypt Time Machine backups, how APFS snapshots work (inside and outside Time Machine), and what to do if Time Machine misbehaves.
  • Deal with unusual backup needs: If you deal with exceptionally large files (such as audio and video files), spend a lot of time on the road away from your usual backup hardware, run Windows on your Mac, or rely on cloud services to store essential data, you’ll want to take extra (or different) steps to make sure everything is safely backed up.
  • Manage your media: What happens when a backup drive fills up, or becomes so old that you worry about its future reliability? What if you want to archive older files for posterity, but not necessarily maintain them as part of your daily backups? Joe explains how to deal with media management tasks such as these.
  • Recover lost data: Backing up data can be easy, but restoring it is often more challenging. When you discover that data is missing---whether due to a disk error, theft, or a simple mistake---you need to know the exact steps needed to recover it and get back to work as soon as possible.

Table of contents

  1. Read Me First
    1. Updates and More
    2. Basics
    3. What’s New in the Fourth Edition
  2. Introduction
  3. Quick Start
  4. Plan a Backup Strategy
    1. Understand Joe’s Basic Backup Strategy
    2. Why Create Versioned Backups?
    3. Why Create Bootable Duplicates (or Not)?
    4. Why Use External Storage?
    5. Why Use Multiple Partitions (or Not)?
    6. Why Automate Backups?
    7. Why Keep Multiple Backups?
    8. Why Store Backups Offsite?
    9. Can Cloud Sync Simplify Backups?
    10. Can You Reduce Your Backup Footprint?
  5. Reassess Your Backup Strategy
    1. What’s New in Mac Backups
    2. Factors to Reevaluate
  6. Choose Local or Network Backups
    1. Local Backups
    2. Network Backups
    3. Local vs. Network Backups: Joe’s Recommendations
  7. Choose Backup Software
    1. Decide Whether Time Machine Is Best for You
    2. Explore Versioned Backup Features
    3. Choose Another Versioned Backup App
    4. Choose a Bootable Duplicate App
  8. Choose Backup Hardware
    1. Choose Hard Drives, SSDs, or Both
    2. Decide on Capacity
    3. Decide on a Storage Configuration
    4. Hardware You Should Probably Avoid
  9. Prepare Your Backup Drive
    1. Choose the Right Partition Map Scheme
    2. Decide How Many Partitions and Volumes to Make
    3. Decide How to Format Your Partitions
    4. Configure Your Drive
  10. Configure and Use Time Machine
    1. Time Machine Basics
    2. Choose a Destination
    3. Exclude Files from Time Machine
    4. Restore Data with Time Machine
    5. Delete Files from a Time Machine Backup
    6. Encrypt Your Time Machine Backup
    7. Use a Mac as a Time Machine Server
    8. Use a Single Backup Disk with Multiple Macs
    9. Use Power Nap
    10. Manage Your Time Machine Schedule
    11. Migrate to a Larger Time Machine Disk
    12. Avoid or Solve Time Machine Problems
  11. Use Other Versioned Backup Software
    1. Arq Tips
    2. Carbon Copy Cloner Tips
    3. ChronoSync Tips
    4. QRecall Tips
    5. Retrospect Tips
    6. Test Your Versioned Backup
  12. Create and Use a Duplicate
    1. Give the Destination Volume a Unique Name
    2. Create a Duplicate in Mojave or Catalina
    3. Create a Bootable Duplicate in Big Sur
    4. Test Your Bootable Duplicate
    5. Create a Data-Only Duplicate
  13. Store an Extra Backup Offsite
    1. Use an Extra Hard Drive or SSD
    2. Use a Cloud Backup Service
  14. What to Do When Disaster Strikes
    1. Restore Individual Files
    2. Use Your Bootable Duplicate
    3. Restore a Disk from a Bootable Duplicate
    4. Restore a Disk from a Data-Only Duplicate
  15. Manage Your Media
    1. What to Do When Your Disks Fill Up
    2. Consider Long-Term Archive Storage
  16. Consider Special Backup Needs
    1. Back Up Digital Photos
    2. Deal with Huge Volumes of Data
    3. Back Up a NAS
    4. Back Up Data from the Cloud
    5. Back Up While on the Road
    6. Back Up an iOS or iPadOS Device
    7. Back Up Windows Files and Volumes
  17. About This Book
    1. Ebook Extras
    2. About the Author and Publisher
    3. Credits
  18. Also by Joe Kissell
  19. Copyright and Fine Print

Product information

  • Title: Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac, 4th Edition
  • Author(s): Joe Kissell
  • Release date: May 2021
  • Publisher(s): Take Control Books
  • ISBN: 9781947282148