Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

How do you backup your MacBook?

  • Total voters


macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 8, 2014
I've been weighing my backup options, because I think it might be a good idea to have backups of my files (maybe...).

Time Capsules strike me as worth the money, but 2TB is overkill for the stuff I have to back up. Plus, I don't want it to only back up when I'm at home.

I have a Mac Mini connected to the Internet doing Server things, but it's a bit of hassle VPNing in and waiting for backups to finish over the Internet... I do like that it's off-site though.

If I got an external HDD, I'd never remember to plug it in and I wouldn't want to deal with it.

I came across this Nifty MiniDrive, which uses the SD Card slot I never use to add storage. I like that it's always there, so my MacBook can make Time Capsule backups throughout the day, but if my MacBook is stolen, so are the backups...

So how do you backup your stuff? If you use the Nifty MiniDrive, how do you like it? How does it fit? I have the 13" rMPB, and I've watched some review videos, I think one was a MBA- sometimes the reviewer complains that the fit isn't perfect, the right side sticks out.


macrumors 6502a
Dec 30, 2010
I come from a land down-under...
I use a flush-fitting 64GB SD card for my overflow storage


I have a 64GB SD card left permanently in my MBA. I did initially try to use this with DropBox for all of my docs but had problems with speed.

I think you would need to format it as HFS+ to use for TM backups.

Incidentally, if you use exFAT format, I suggest formatting it on a Windows PC that allows you to change the default block size to something smaller. Without it the minimum file size is huge (64KB) I think, which means you lose a lot of space.

I use mine to store my mail (by setting up a symlink form the default Mail folder to the SD drive), and have my iTunes library on it.



I use my Synology nas with Timemachine and i love it!

+1 - The Synology NAS is a great piece of kit. Backs up 4 Macs and a PC, and runs my media server and file server.


macrumors 6502
Jul 13, 2008
Carbon Copy Cloner is by far the best backup software I have used. You can set up a schedule to remind you to plug in a drive and backup. Or you can backup to a network drive.

Your post is a bit conflicting though. You say you don't want an at home network drive because you don't want to be limited to backing up at home. Which indivates you have important data you want constantly backed up. But then you say you don't want an external drive because you can't be bothered to remember. Which indicates you data isn't that important to you.

You said you already have a Mac Mini acting as a server. If you're tech savvy, and have the internet connection to support it, you can use the Mini to make a network drive at home accessible outside the home. Then using CCC you can backup anywhere.


macrumors newbie
Oct 1, 2014

CrashPlan worth every penny. Same cost as a latte/per month. We have the family plan for 4 home computers (up to 10) for about $10/mo.


macrumors 68040
Jan 13, 2011
I have just the Nifty adapter, where you have to buy the Micro-SD card to plug in. My current one is awfully slow, so I only use it to store 2-nd tier documents I need occasionally. I would not use it for a backup as uSD-s are still the slowest media, IMHO.
Cloud backup is a good idea. And time seems to have corrected the prices as well, so it is really affordable now. Instead of CrashPlan I've chosen Backblaze.


macrumors 6502a
Sep 8, 2008
I have a secondary 1TB HDD in the optical drive bay which is divided into two 500 GB partitions. One which is used for data (have moved the home drive here off of the primary SSD) and the other 500GB partition is used for time machine backups :)

Not great if my laptop is lost or stolen I know but useful if I ever lose anything from the primary drive


macrumors 6502
Dec 23, 2013
I use a NAS

Btw, please don't make backups to an SD card, what is this? Data backup by stupid people?


macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2010
I have 2 Nifty Minis, one for my old MBA and one for my new rMBP. I supported their Kickstarter. However, I dont use them for backups. They simply store movies, music and other such things I dont want to stick on the hard drive.
For backups I use a combination of Time Machine to a 1TB SSD mounted in an external case, and when at home I mount a mapped drive share and Time Machine to my NAS. And as a third backup I will occasionally do a CCC image to an external drive.


macrumors 6502a
Sep 27, 2004
CCC to a mini running as an iTunes server. That mini is backed up to external disk using Time Machine, and is also using Arq to backup my data to Amazon's Glacier storage.


Apr 19, 2014
I just encrypt the individual files I want to back up, then send them to an SSH server. I never bother backing up my whole system.


macrumors 68040
Aug 10, 2008
I use Crashplan to back up my Mac Mini. I will get a external hard drive soon to have a local back up also. Crashplan is great and very adorable (pay 4 years up front, it's under $5 a month).

I want a local back up because if something does happen, it will take a long time to download almost 2TB from Crashpan.


macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
If you happen to have an extra SATA drive around (can be 2.5" or 3.5"), just get a USB3/SATA docking station and use that for the drive.

If you don't know what a dock is, go to amazon and enter "usb3 sata dock" into the search box -- you'll get many hits, some as low as $20+.

You might even be able to find someone with a used hard drive to sell or just give away.

Reinitialize it with Disk Utility and use something like CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to create a bootable clone of the internal drive.

I would advise EVERY Mac user whose primary drive is an SSD to have a BOOTABLE backup nearby. When an SSD fails, it often just goes "POOF!" without any warning at all.

That's when you can connect your backup and be up and running in a couple of minutes. A backup like that can save you A LOT of headaches...


macrumors demi-god
Apr 27, 2011
Backup to a SD card only protects against 2 possible scenarios - hard drive failure and screwing up a file yourself. It does nothing to protect against theft or other loss.

Crashplan is great but needs a good internet connection. Best is a multipronged approaches I g time machine, CCC or equivalent, and Crashplan or similar.

Ask yourself this: If I lost my drive and all data how much would I be willing to pay to have it restored? That gives you a target price on how much you can spend on prevention.


macrumors 6502a
Jun 16, 2012
Nifty drive with 64GB card, permanently in MBPr, for current work and most important files. A small portable drive for Time Machine, another for media, these travel with the MBPr whenever it goes anywhere. The don't add much weight. At home, a large drive partitioned, with Carbon Copy Cloner and another TM backup.

Another large drive for TM backup for my iMac, and another media backup drive.

I don't totally trust Cloud storage, but I have favourite photos, family videos, and some archive stuff backed up in Google Drive, and Box. Partly so family can share photos and videos.


macrumors regular
Jul 4, 2013
Bedford, UK
i use an external hd for backup. Managed to get a nifty drive dirt cheap from ebay which i use to store my downloaded programs. Not really much use, but great at stopping dirt ingress as the MBP 13 doesnt have a dust cover on the sd slot :)
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.