Looking for Mac app recommendation to back up to external hard drive

macOS & Mac Apps


So, I use cloud backups for my work, I'm a writer, but there is part of me that still suffers from paranoia. I've hooked up an old USB to my Tp-Link router and am looking to use it as a backup device. I've tried writing a workflow in automator, however, it seems to have problems with read/write permissions.

Does anyone have a suggestion for an accessible app, preferably free, that can either sync or straight back up a work folder from my MacBook to an external hard drive?

Thanks for any help you can provide.




Submitted by Justin on Friday, March 9, 2018

So, if you're wanting to back up your entire mac, the best backup, or clone utility in my opinion is Super Duper. With one lifetime purchase of $27, you can have unlimited access. Everything is accessible with VO, and works wonderfully. Get a 1TB or higher external USB hard drive or whatever you want to use to clone your machine. Then if the HD inside the machine fails you have a bootable copy of your OS, and everything works.

Submitted by dvdmth on Monday, March 12, 2018

Club AppleVis Member

I personally use Time Machine, Apple's built-in option, but I don't think that is going to work for your use case. Time Machine is known to have problems with drives connected through a network, and there is no option to back up just one folder or a group of files. It's your entire drive or nothing.

The most often recommended third-party solutions are SuperDuper ($28 for one computer) and Carbon Copy Cloner ($36 for a household). The two apps are very similar in what features they provide, and both should satisfy your use case very nicely. Both apps are very accessible as well.

Carbon Copy Cloner has a few advantages over SuperDuper which you may consider. The app has a 30-day free trial, during which all functionality is available for you to try out before committing to paying for the app, whereas SuperDuper has most features disabled until you pay for it. Also, CCC has much better documentation on their website, with a lot of detail and fully up to date. SuperDuper's documentation, by contrast, hasn't been updated in over a decade and is missing some key aspects of the app in its current form. That frustrated me when I was trying to compare the capabilities of the two apps when researching this very topic a couple of months ago.

SuperDuper, meanwhile, has a couple of advantages over CCC. If your backup drive is solid state, as opposed to a spinning drive, and you format it using the new Apple File System (APFS), then SuperDuper will create snapshots on the backup drive, allowing you to access older versions of files through the Time Machine app. CCC is promising to add this feature later on, but as far as I know it does not support this yet. The other advantage of SuperDuper is that it's cheaper, when used on a single computer, and the developers do not charge for updates, whereas CCC does.

In the end, I think you'll be happy with either Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper. Both should do what you're asking for, the ability to back up a folder or set of files to a hard drive on your local network.