Dual computer setup

Ploki

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 21, 2008
4,105
1,398
What's the easiest way to have two Macs synced up perfectly?
I'll have a laptop and a Mac Mini.

My idea was to have Carbon Copy Cloner on both macs installed, then each time i need to take the macbook away I clone the mini with CCC to the macbook so its a perfect mirror.
 

jdelgado

macrumors regular
Oct 25, 2009
155
9
Chile
What's the easiest way to have two Macs synced up perfectly?
I'll have a laptop and a Mac Mini.

My idea was to have Carbon Copy Cloner on both macs installed, then each time i need to take the macbook away I clone the mini with CCC to the macbook so its a perfect mirror.
You may want to test Chronosync. I believe there is a free trial, so you can test it and determine if it fits your needs.
It may take a bit of work to set it up, but once done it works seamlessly.
I have used it for a few years without major issues.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ploki

Ploki

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 21, 2008
4,105
1,398
unless you set symbolic links for all preferences for Logic and plugins, i have to do all those manually. I have 50gb of iCloud, i just don't want to mess with symbolic links on APFS
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,984
1,527
Georgia
Chronosync or Freefilesync. Both work. Freefilesync is more difficult to setup but is free and open source. It also works between Windows, macOS and Linux. Chronosync may as well but I haven't played around with it as much.
 

960design

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2012
2,989
939
Destin, FL
What's the easiest way to have two Macs synced up perfectly?
You cannot sync anything perfectly. There will always be a delay or possible .bash file entry different. What exactly do you wish to sync?

Documents?
Turn on iCloud. Every folder within documents will be pushed to every device signed with the same account. I use this for my iMac27(work) and MBP15(mobile). All files I wish to stay on both devices get saved within my documents folder.
Files I do not wish to sync I store in a separate folder ( outside of documents ) called UnSync on both computers.

Apps?
App Store > Preferences > Check Automatically download apps purchased on other Mac computers

PS. As an aside. I occasionally use an Asus ZenbookPro (Win10) computer. I could easily use iCloud for Windows to keep files in sync, but do not. I just log into iCloud.com and use the online versions of Pages, Keynote and Numbers with my files and photos already available.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cashmonee

Stephen.R

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2018
2,529
2,952
Thailand
If you're referring to literally cloning the entire boot drive, I can't imagine that will end well.

I am trying to solve a similar-ish problem: I use (now) a Mac mini as my main machine, but I also have a MBP15, that I'll use if we go away somewhere (I know, I know, a holiday isn't a holiday if you take a laptop. But a business isn't yours if you can go on holiday and leave it, either) or if the Mini needs a hardware fault resolved etc.

My solution is to not worry too much about the apps, and just keep all my work (about 170GB - a lot of Git and Hg repos, VMs, etc) on a fast external drive, and work from that. A few work things end up synced via iCloud (email, notes, the occasional spreadsheet) but the actual work (as opposed to files/etc about the work) is all on that external drive.
 

960design

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2012
2,989
939
Destin, FL
... but the actual work (as opposed to files/etc about the work) is all on that external drive.
That is frightening to me. I have literally spent years of my life writing code. To have it all on a single portable device, easily lost, damaged, stolen, that will fail, stolen is one of those things I would never do. Just like I would not ride in a car without seatbelts. Times have changed and so have I.

The cost of 200GB of iCloud storage ( my working files are in the 40GB range, so I'm okay with the 50GB storage ) is comparable with the cost of a backup drive, plus much more convenient. If you are in the 200GB range the iCloud cost should be a small part of your development budget. People work so hard to make their lives more difficult.
 

Stephen.R

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2018
2,529
2,952
Thailand
That is frightening to me. I have literally spent years of my life writing code. To have it all on a single portable device, easily lost, damaged, stolen, that will fail, stolen is one of those things I would never do.
Did you miss the part where I wrote this:
a lot of Git and Hg repos, VMs, et
Do you think I'm using single-copy git and mercurial repos, and never pushing that content to remotes?

Regardless of that - what about what I said excludes the use of a backup? This discussion is about keeping a working environment up to date between two machines. That's unrelated to backups.

If you are in the 200GB range the iCloud cost should be a small part of your development budget.
iCloud is not a backup solution.

Even to use as a sync-only solution, this is extremely short sighted. How fast do you think 150GB of content is going to sync over 30Mbit VDSL?
 
Last edited:

Big Bad D

macrumors regular
Jan 3, 2007
169
75
France
iCloud and iCloud Drive works well for me for documents, photos etc. to be synced. Did successfully use ChronoSync many years ago, but find it no longer needed. I fully agree with previous post that iCloud syncing is not a backup solution (Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner both used from that).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Stephen.R

Ploki

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 21, 2008
4,105
1,398
You cannot sync anything perfectly. There will always be a delay or possible .bash file entry different. What exactly do you wish to sync?

Documents?
Turn on iCloud. Every folder within documents will be pushed to every device signed with the same account. I use this for my iMac27(work) and MBP15(mobile). All files I wish to stay on both devices get saved within my documents folder.
Files I do not wish to sync I store in a separate folder ( outside of documents ) called UnSync on both computers.

Apps?
App Store > Preferences > Check Automatically download apps purchased on other Mac computers

PS. As an aside. I occasionally use an Asus ZenbookPro (Win10) computer. I could easily use iCloud for Windows to keep files in sync, but do not. I just log into iCloud.com and use the online versions of Pages, Keynote and Numbers with my files and photos already available.
Well, problem is library>preferences, and then all 10 of Logic Pro's subfolders for presets and settings.
 

thirdsun

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2018
98
97
Honestly? What you’re trying to achieve probably can’t be done. At least not in a reliable, comfortable way and as a long term solution.

It’s one thing to keep a few document folders in sync, but syncing a boot drive, OS, DAW and all its third party instruments/effects as well as projects, not just once, but over an extended period of time is orders of magnitude more complex and simply not feasible in my opinion.
Sadly there’s no Github for music production. Even syncing infrequent snapshots as in collaborating with other musicians over a single DAW project is still a major pain point and prone to all kinds inconsistencies and troubles.

My opinion: Either make one device, probably the desktop, your primary workstation and use the other as an extension for sketches and mobile experiments that might be transfered back to the main computer. Or limit yourself to a single computer: If it has to be mobile, it’s probably a Macbook Pro, otherwise use the desktop.
 

Ploki

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 21, 2008
4,105
1,398
Honestly? What you’re trying to achieve probably can’t be done. At least not in a reliable, comfortable way and as a long term solution.

It’s one thing to keep a few document folders in sync, but syncing a boot drive, OS, DAW and all its third party instruments/effects as well as projects, not just once, but over an extended period of time is orders of magnitude more complex and simply not feasible in my opinion.
Sadly there’s no Github for music production. Even syncing infrequent snapshots as in collaborating with other musicians over a single DAW project is still a major pain point and prone to all kinds inconsistencies and troubles.

My opinion: Either make one device, probably the desktop, your primary workstation and use the other as an extension for sketches and mobile experiments that might be transfered back to the main computer. Or limit yourself to a single computer: If it has to be mobile, it’s probably a Macbook Pro, otherwise use the desktop.
well... i guess i could manually install on both computers when i buy new software... and sybc most crucial things via symbolic links. and do initial setup via migration assistant.

thanks
 

tskwara

macrumors member
May 6, 2010
50
43
You can use Syncthing to keep a directory on both systems in sync. Timing of the sync scan is configurable along with file patterns in case only certain file types need to be in sync. Amazing that it’s free.
 

Spectrum

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2005
1,623
939
Never quite sure
unless you set symbolic links for all preferences for Logic and plugins, i have to do all those manually. I have 50gb of iCloud, i just don't want to mess with symbolic links on APFS
What is the problem with symbolic links?
I keep 3 machines in sync with Dropbox.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ploki

Ploki

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 21, 2008
4,105
1,398
What is the problem with symbolic links?
I keep 3 machines in sync with Dropbox.
i thought something went avry when switch to APFS happened.
how does it work for you? do you actually use symbolic links for system files?
 

Spectrum

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2005
1,623
939
Never quite sure
i thought something went avry when switch to APFS happened.
how does it work for you? do you actually use symbolic links for system files?
No...not system files...im not sure that is possible...My whole Dropbox folder is symlinked to a second internal drive outside of the home folder. This is pretty basic I suppose, but works fine.
What files need syncing? I presumed it was just library folders that sit in your home directory. If so they can be symlinked into Dropbox without moving them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ploki

Ploki

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 21, 2008
4,105
1,398
No...not system files...im not sure that is possible...My whole Dropbox folder is symlinked to a second internal drive outside of the home folder. This is pretty basic I suppose, but works fine.
What files need syncing? I presumed it was just library folders that sit in your home directory. If so they can be symlinked into Dropbox without moving them.
Yeah. Logic has files all over the place tho, gonna take some work but should be fine! Ill try with symbolic links first
 

Spectrum

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2005
1,623
939
Never quite sure
Yeah. Logic has files all over the place tho, gonna take some work but should be fine! Ill try with symbolic links first
Just be sure to make sure syncing has completely finished each time, and probably best not to run the software at the same time on both machines...that may create some nasty conflicts.

For a while I was travelling with a 64GB memory stick to home and work. What a massive pain that was!

I started using Dropbox and have never looked back. Unlike the experience of others, I have found iCloud file sync to be flaky, with some apps not triggering a file sync between iOS and macOS. It creates a lot of problems. Dropbox has worked seamlessly for me for many years now across varying OS versions too. I can't really fault it. My whole team uses it for file sharing too. Not sure what we'd do without it to be honest!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Ploki

960design

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2012
2,989
939
Destin, FL
Did you miss the part where I wrote this:
Yes. I pretty much focused on the
... but the actual work (as opposed to files/etc about the work) is all on that external drive.
. This seemed pretty clear that no matter what you were doing, ALL the work was on an external drive.

Do you think I'm using single-copy git and mercurial repos, and never pushing that content to remotes?
I try not to make assumptions. We know what happens with those. Unfortunately, all I have to go on is your writing.

I'm a little confused on your further comment about:
iCloud is not a backup solution.
First, I disagree, it certainly is much better than an external drive. External drives often disappear in a fire, hurricane, flood, ect; and / or just fail.

Regardless of that - what about what I said excludes the use of a backup? This discussion is about keeping a working environment up to date between two machines. That's unrelated to backups.
Again, I'm baffled. This is exactly what iCloud provides. Literally, stated the first line in the Apple documentation about iCloud drive:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206985

This is exactly how I keep source code ( and more ) up to date on four Mac's, two Win10 computers and an Ubuntu Dell in a pear tree.

How fast do you think 150GB of content is going to sync over 30Mbit VDSL?
We could all do the math, but you could have saved us a few seconds. My napkin math shows about 12 hours. Fortunately, this is not the way document delta syncing works, that would just be silly. Document updates are nearly instantaneous. I update source on one computer and the other seven match the changes almost immediately.
[doublepost=1544209947][/doublepost]
Well, problem is library>preferences, and then all 10 of Logic Pro's subfolders for presets and settings.
Back in the day, I used to keep multiple Macs running Logic in sync, via Utilities > Midi > Network > Create a session > Then connecting the other Macs. I'm pretty sure they all had to be on the same network and have not done that in several years, so the memory could be quite incorrect.
 

Stephen.R

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2018
2,529
2,952
Thailand
This seemed pretty clear that no matter what you were doing, ALL the work was on an external drive.
My local working copy is all on the drive - so that I can unplug it from the mini and plug it into the MacBook Pro and keep working instantly.

Unfortunately, all I have to go on is your writing.
I wrote that I keep git and mercurial repos on an external drive. I don't think I've ever worked with a developer anywhere in the world who knows what git and hg are, and would assume someone has no remotes...

This is exactly how I keep source code ( and more ) up to date on four Mac's, two Win10 computers and an Ubuntu Dell in a pear tree.
Ah, and now we see why you didn't understand the git/hg comment.

If that works for you, fine. But if you want to talk about 'frightening', a developer who isn't using a version control system is right up there for the vast majority of developers I've worked with or known.

First, I disagree, it certainly is much better than an external drive. External drives often disappear in a fire, hurricane, flood, ect; and / or just fail.
Except the part where it doesn't keep your deletes beyond 30 days, and apps have to opt-in to versioning for you to be able to retrieve older copies of files.. Any serious backup solution involves off-site second/third/fourth copies.

Again, I'm baffled.
You said 'keeping all your work on an external drive is frightening'. My response is that using an external SSD doesn't mean I don't have a separate backup of that data - it just means I don't store the working files on the internal SSD of the Mac.

My napkin math shows about 12 hours. Fortunately, this is not the way document delta syncing works, that would just be silly. Document updates are nearly instantaneous. I update source on one computer and the other seven match the changes almost immediately.
Great, so now I just need to leave the laptop turned on, and logged in as me whenever I'm working, so that it's up to date. I'll tell my wife she can't use it, because syncing data to a server in America and back to the laptop 2 feet from me is a better idea than a ridiculously fast SSD the size of a chocolate bar.
 

Ploki

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 21, 2008
4,105
1,398
Back in the day, I used to keep multiple Macs running Logic in sync, via Utilities > Midi > Network > Create a session > Then connecting the other Macs. I'm pretty sure they all had to be on the same network and have not done that in several years, so the memory could be quite incorrect.
Thats used for syncing transports and you remember correctly!
I want to have app settings and presets synced
 

960design

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2012
2,989
939
Destin, FL
Ah, and now we see why you didn't understand the git/hg comment.
Where did I state that I do not understand git?

To give a more boring answer that lies outside the scope of the OPs question. I currently use both local and private remote git repositories for daily commits. I only used hg for a very short time ( one or two projects ) many years ago. I was late to release my hold and belief on svn, but soon found the benefits were as true as stated. At the time, I just did not believe that something so magical could exist and did not trust it to NOT corrupting my data.

The brief aside has also recalled a very old memory of using rsync to keep files in sync between old IBM mainframes and my computer.
[doublepost=1544241286][/doublepost]
Yeah. Logic has files all over the place tho, gonna take some work but should be fine! Ill try with symbolic links first
Thanks to Stephen's probing questions into my versioning and backup strategies, I have recalled an old memory of using rsync. This has the possibility of accomplishing your sync needs, albeit with a bit of work.
Nice overview:
https://medium.com/@sethgoldin/a-ge...e-powerful-tool-for-media-ingest-86761ca29c34

More details:
https://linux.die.net/man/1/rsync
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/rsync
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ploki
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.