Backing up and restoring everything

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by kat.hayes, Feb 15, 2018.

  1. kat.hayes macrumors 65816

    Oct 10, 2011
    I use Time Machine to backup everything on my MacBook Pro. I need to reformat and do a clean install.

    1. Is there any reason to go into individual folders and make copies of important files, such as my Mail, Photos database, etc. if Time Machine is already backing all of this up?

    2. Since I use iCloud, after reformatting, all of my Safari bookmarks, iCal data, Notes, Numbers documents, and Photos should automatically synch back to the newly reformatted Mac, right? Is there a difference in quality between the photos on my Mac vs. the ones that get synced back to my Mac from iCloud?

    3. Are there any other basic Mac applications I should look into backing up? I do not use iTunes and I already backed up my Photo Booth.

    Thanks for any help.
  2. treekram, Feb 15, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018

    treekram macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    I have a Time Machine backup and a clone backup of 3 of my Macs. For my primary computer, I keep an offsite backup as well. So to me, considering the cost and convenience of an external HDD, I think it's a good idea to have another backup. You can download something like Carbon Copy Cloner and use it free for 30 days. Unlike Time Machine, software like CCC only keeps the version of your files at the time you do the clone. So you only need a HDD at least as big as your MBP's disk. However, for HDD's, the incremental cost to get to the next largest capacity is usually pretty cheap.

    If, after 30 days, you don't feel the need for an additional backup, let the trial expire. However, this can also be an opportunity to start keeping an additional backup. If you're afraid of your data being stolen, enable file encryption on the external HDD before you begin the clone operation. After dong the clone operation, you can boot from this disk and check your files if you wish for peace of mind (it will be much slower if you have a SSD in the MBP.) You can do a restore either from the Time Machine backup or the clone backup. While you can create a recovery partition on the backup disk, the fact that you have a clone really greatly reduces the need for a recovery partition on the backup HDD.
  3. Crunch macrumors 6502a


    Jun 26, 2008
    Crazy L.A.
    Dear Kat,

    What I do is use Time Machine to do two backups on two different external hard drives instead of just one. Yea, you can use another piece of backup software like CCC or Super Duper, but unless you have a specific need for having an exact mirror, I wouldn't bother.

    I'm actually in your boat as far as having to do a clean install after making the mistake of downgrading to High Sierra. I'll be doing a wipeout so as to upgrade to Sierra. :D

    Good luck!
  4. treekram macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    This makes it sound like there is no distinct advantage of the clone over the Time Machine backup. That's not the case. If your disk crashes and you need immediate access to your computer and it's files, the clone (provided you took the steps to make it bootable) is fastest way to achieve it. With Time Machine, you'd need to have another clean disk and spend the time to restore it - or - if you need files in a hurry you'd need access to another Mac and have the knowledge to extract files that you need from the Time Machine backup.

    Other people who populate these forums also pretend that there is no distinct advantage of Time Machine over the clone. That's not the case either. Time Machine keeps versions of files at the times the backups occurred. Clones only have the version of files as they existed at the time the clone was done.

    If you just need a one-time backup to make sure you have a couple copies of your computer data as you do your clean install, a clone will be faster. If your intention is to use Time Machine to restore to an earlier point in time than your current Time Machine backup, then you should clone the Time Machine backup to another disk as the clone will only copy what you have currently, as mentioned before. If your intention is to use Migration Assistant to copy over data after the clean install, either a Time Machine disk or a clone will work.
  5. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    I'm a pretty strong advocate of using both Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner

    Both have their strengths, and I prefer to have both as options
    Time Machine does allow you to go back to earlier versions of files easily, and you can do a restore
    However, clones the distinct (to me) advantage of allowing you a bootable option that Time Machine does not
    In addition, you can set CCC to do incremental backups as well as SafetyNet that will cache modified and deleted files from previous clones based on space available
  6. dianeoforegon macrumors 6502a


    Apr 26, 2011
    I disagree with you on just needing Time Machine. Just like you need an airbag and a selt belt when driving your car you need both a clone and Time Machine backups.

    If you need to downgrade to Sierra, you will also need to erase your APFS drive and revert to HFS+. You can't do this with Time Machine.
    You also can't boot into Time Machine to make a clone backup if your drive is too badly damaged to boot.
  7. Madhumati Patil macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2018
    There are many third party apps where you can securely backup all your digital photos and videos and treasure them safely.

    I think that the best way to manage, sync and backup all your photos / videos can be done automatically using PicBackMan.

    PicBackMan is the easiest and simplest way to keep your photos and videos safely backed up in one or more online accounts. Simply download PicBackMan (it's free!), register your account, connect to your online store and tell PicBackMan where your photos and videos are - PicBackMan does the rest, automatically. It bulk uploads all videos and keeps looking for new ones and uploads those too. You don't have to ever touch it.

    PicBackMan is a multi service bulk uploader for photos and videos that allows you to automatically keep all your photos and videos backed up on number of services (SmugMug, Flickr, google Photos, DropBox etc.) by your choice.
  8. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    i would think after reformatting you would have the option on Mac, as you do on iOS, to force download copies of originals.

    It would make more sense on iPhone, where storage could more of an issue.

    You also may not always want the same app.. I'm not sure if TM only backup data or the app as well, but you can always download latest version anyway.

    Alternative, just to be safe, back up the app(s) anyway... There's no harm in keeping more than one backup, and probably good move regardless.
  9. jbarley macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2006
    Vancouver Island
    Unless you have "Safety net" turned on, then CCC does the equivalent of versioning.

    Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 8.21.14 AM.png
  10. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    OP wrote:
    "I use Time Machine to backup everything on my MacBook Pro. I need to reformat and do a clean install."

    Before going further, I have to ask:
    WHY do you think you need to do a "reformat and clean install"?

    Specifically, what is causing you problems?
  11. Crunch macrumors 6502a


    Jun 26, 2008
    Crazy L.A.
    I agree with basically everything you, @MacDawg and @dianefromoregon said. I've used CCC in the past and liked it, but found no use case scenario for me to want to bother with more than Time Machine at this time. But yes, if time is of the essence, you will recover significantly faster from a clone than from a Time Machine backup.
  12. kat.hayes thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 10, 2011
    I just have tons of bloat on my Mac from left over files from applications I've deleted, etc. I have no idea where all this stuff is, so I like to reformat and do a clean install around once every year to year and a half.
  13. Crunch macrumors 6502a


    Jun 26, 2008
    Crazy L.A.
    Yup, exactly. This has always been a good idea. I'm beyond way overdue for my own re-install, so I've been trying out High Sierra for a couple of months, and while it's been working more or less outside of the iMovie problem, I have now decided to do my wipeout and go back to Sierra instead of a fresh High Sierra install.

    And as if I didn't have enough reasons to bail on Release Candidate 10.3.3, just look at what the person behind Carbon Copy Cloner uncovered today:

    APFS is clearly not ready for primetime. If memory serves, there have been issues with HEVC and HEIF as well, which now completely eliminates any reason to run the new OS.

    Finally, according to plenty of anecdotal evidence, as well as my own experience with RC 10.3.1 through RC 10.3.3, High Sierra simply any faster than Sierra. Quite the contrary in many cases.

    Until Apple figures out a way to always force us onto the latest macOS as it likes to do with iOS, I say good riddance!

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12 February 15, 2018