What is the best way to keep 2 MacBook airs identical?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by mitchk357, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. mitchk357 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    #1
    I have a 13" MacBook Air that I use for work at home. I just purchased an 11" MacBook Air for traveling. What is the best way to keep them identical?
    --- Post Merged, Jan 5, 2017 ---
    I have not even opened the box for the new 11 inch. What is the best way to copy the 13" on to it?
     
  2. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

    Joined:
    May 16, 2015
    #2
    What about creating a time machine backup of your current 13 inch MacBook Air and restore it to your new 11 inch MacBook Air?
     
  3. mitchk357 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 5, 2017
    #3
    I heard of that. Will I be able to update one machine or the other on a consistent basis so they both have the identical files and settings?
     
  4. ftaok macrumors 603

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #4
    Do you really need them to be identical? Or do you just need your files to be in sync?

    Keeping documents in sync is relatively easy by using cloud storage. Dropbox would be a good place to start.

    I guess you'd run into difficulties with your photos and music if you keep your libraries on your computers.
     
  5. mitchk357 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 5, 2017
    #5
    Keeping files and desktop in sync....
     
  6. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #6
    I use Chronosync for that purpose. It works well. Seems to me I've heard other posters talking about other synching apps, but I can vouch for Chronosync.
     
  7. mitchk357 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 5, 2017
    #7
    What about iCloud? would it work like Chronosync?
     
  8. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

    Joined:
    May 16, 2015
    #8
    I don't know Chronosync but iCloud can keep all your files stored in iCloud folder on all of your other devices. However 5GB is too small especially when you have iPhone iPad etc. Dropbox is a better alternative. OneDrive also works great.
    If you only backup one machine, and restore the latest backup to the other, all files on both machine should be considered as identical. However, this choice is bad if you need to work on both machines. Restoring from backup will probably overwrite existing files.
     
  9. mochatins macrumors newbie

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    Aug 18, 2012
    #9
    I love Resilio Sync (previously Bittorrent Sync), which I've been using for a few years. It uses private encrypted bittorrents to sync folders between machines. Your files never touch any company's servers, and there are no size limits to think of – they just get synchronized directly from machine to machine. It's quite reliable; and even keeps copies of things deleted by another machine in a hidden folder for 30 days (.sync/.archive).

    The way I use this on my own machines is to separately synchronize some folders, like Documents. I have tried syncing iTunes folders this way, and that did not go well. I use iTunes Match, or iCloud Music Library or whatever it's called now.

    My friends and I use Resilio Sync to share big files too. Pretty awesome. It's freemium software, the subscription version giving you higher granularity on syncing. The free version does everything I need.
     
  10. yoblanco macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    #10
    If you are not into computing or into cloud storage: rsync. It's a program that you can run from the terminal, or better use a script. I use an external hard drive, connect to one computer, run a script to copy everything to the hard drive, connect hard drive to the other Air, and run another script to restore. Just two files with the extension .command, with appropiate line(s) written inside and you are ready: free, fast, and the most secure (and error-free) you can get.
     
  11. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #11
    Just sync your data instead and have the same apps installed on each. Use iCloud, Dropbox, etc to sync the data. Keychain will copy your passwords. Trying to keep two machines identical is like trying to push water up hill - think about what you really want achieve and keep it as simple as possible.
     
  12. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #12
    Let a hundred flowers bloom. I'm not pimping Chronosync beyond saying that although it's not free, it's easy to use and very effective.

    When I'm getting ready to travel, I simply fire up Chronosync, select a script that I've already named and stored, connect my rMBP to the wired network (for speed) and start things rolling. When it's done, the folder I've selected is either identical on both machines (bidirectional synch) or the remote folder has everything new that's on the local folder. Chronosync also has a test mode, which you can invoke to see what's going to be transferred before you actually start the transfer.

    Everything is handled on my LAN.

    Certainly I use Dropbox (I have the paid version) and that's very handy. But I have folders I don't want to keep permanently in Dropbox.

    I'm not an iCloud fan -- particularly with that new ability in Sierra that under certain circumstances can lose you your files. There were threads about this here; I can't remember what they were titled.

    Anyway, OP -- as you can see, there are many ways to do this. Pick the one that suits your style and workflow.
     
  13. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #13
    I think you could also use Carbon Copy Cloner. Setup the first machine with all your files, then clone it to a hard drive. You can then clone that hard drive to the second machine. Carbon Copy does incremental clones, only copying the files that have changed, and also has the option to archive old versions if desired.

    Downside here is that you have to remember which direction to do the cloning, depending on which computer you used last. I suppose another option would be cloning the first computer to a fast external SSD (recently got a Samsung T3 and they are really fast, with a 256gb model around $100). You could then boot directly from the SSD on either computer, eliminating any need to sync. You would need to carry the SSD with you of course, but it's very small.
     
  14. Ca_lvn macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2016
    #14
    I'm using Carbon Copy Cloner for back up great program super easy , a bit off subject but my IPhone is synced to my MBA via iCloud data etc and that really works well , and I noticed too when I was in Safari on my phone that it displayed the same on the MacBook that was surprising to me , I mean the web page I was viewing was displayed at the same time on the MBA via synced on the cloud
     
  15. Brientim macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2014
    #15
    I using Carbon Copy Cloner too. However, I also use iCloud to but selectively to sync and maintain data I want sync across all mobile platforms iPhones and iPads.

    iCloud free is 5 gb, but it is extremely cheap to step up to 50 and 200 gb, and I have used this as a secondary back up.
     
  16. 960design macrumors 68020

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    Apr 17, 2012
    Location:
    Destin, FL
    #16
    I use iCloud to sync 4 macs. So easy to never have to worry about finding documents. Everything that is in the Documents or Desktop folder is 'shared' to the other devices, even my iPad. I pay the $12 / year fo the 50GB plan, but only use about 10GB of it.

    Does not get any easier than that.

    I even have access to my documents on a borrowed chrome book ( or any borrowed internet device ) by logging into my iCloud account.
     
  17. samcraig macrumors P6

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #17
    The other inelegant solution would be to use one machine as the host and then just remote desktop in ;)

    ETA: Another idea would be to get an external SSD and put MacOS and everything on that - then just boot from that drive on either machine. But it also depends on your need to access both machines, etc
     
  18. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #18
    I think the bigger question is…. why do you need two MBA's? I sold my 13" MBA and switched to an 11" i7/8gb/512gb MBA in 2013 and still love it. Why do you feel you need the 13" at all?
     
  19. iLondoner macrumors 6502

    iLondoner

    #19
    I use DropBox to sync files between two Macbook Airs, one iMac and two iPhones. I also have six or more Windows users accessing one of the directories.

    The files are totally duplicated on each of the Macbook and iMac machines and as soon as a file is updated on one machine it is uploaded to Dropbox and then push updated to the other Macbook/iMac machines.

    On the iPhones you normally need Internet access to be able to read the files off Dropbox but you can choose to store some files locally (e.g. scanned images of driving licence, passport) if you wish.

    I can also access the Dropbox files from any other Internet connected client.

    I only use Desktop for temporary storage, you would need to get into the habit of storing these sorts of files in a Dropbox/Desktop folder. I don't know how Photos and iTunes would work, I suppose it's possible to store these also within Dropbox, would appreciate advice from anyone who has tried this.

    I believe all—or at least much—of the above is the same with iCloud but things seem quite complicated with Apple in the way they have multiple uses for the same software (I would make the same criticism about iTunes), so I prefer to be using a dedicated third-party utility.
     
  20. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

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    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Cold beer land
    #20
    Anyone know of good sync programs for Windows? Dropbox is not an option.
     
  21. pika2000 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    #21
    For more seamless experience, use iCloud to sync the desktop and documents folders. It's only 99c a month for 50GB, and don't tell me that's too much.

    On top of that, you can use the variety of other cloud storage services.
    - Dropbox: probably the most robust and reliable, and fast as well. It shows as they only offer 2GB free, and the next pricing tier is $99 a year for 1TB. They are confident that their service is good, and Imo it is.
    - Google Drive: 15GB free. Decent performance, although not as resilient as Dropbox (client sometimes crashes without warnings, leaving your files not-synced). Offers $1.99 a month for 100GB.
    - Microsoft OneDrive: 5GB free. $1.99 a month for 50GB. Not a good deal, and performance seems to be the worse (lower speed, takes longer to recognize changes, etc). However, they do offer Office 365 for $7 a month, which includes 1TB OneDrive. So bang for buck wise, this is pretty good.

    I would say try iCloud first. Despite people bashing it endlessly, it is quite nice especially if you are in the Apple ecosystem (Macs, iPhones, iPads, etc). It already syncs your contacts, emails, passwords, calendar, photos, etc. 99c a month is not breaking the bank either. For additional stuff, get Google Drive. It's the most generous with 15GB free.
     

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