Tag Archive for ‘Time Machine’

My Backup Strategy

Time Machine Preference Pane

We all know backups are important, but they’re not as flashy and interesting as the next Apple Silicon Macs or nifty new piece of software. So they don’t really get discussed as often as they should. But in honor of World Backup Day, which I didn’t know existed and just happened to conveniently take place while I was already working on this piece, I thought I’d share my current backup strategy.

Macs

We have three Macs currently in use in our house — my work MacBook Pro, my wife’s MacBook Air, and our Mac Mini home server. The Mac Mini has an OWC ThunderBay 6 connected with a handful of drives inside — an SSD boot drive, a couple of 4TB drives for storing media, and a couple of 8TB drives for storing backups.

The Mac Mini shares the backup drives over the network as Time Machine destinations. And every Mac in the house backs up over Time Machine to these drives. So all of our local backups and media are stored in a single box — the ThunderBay.

We use TimeMachineEditor to have a bit more control over when our Time Machine backups take place. I have the Mac Mini setup to backup in the middle of the night and the MacBook Pro setup to backup at lunch time on weekdays.

The Mac Mini and my MacBook Pro are also setup with Backblaze to continuously backup all relevant data to the cloud. We will likely setup Backblaze on my wife’s MacBook Air too, but she only recently started using it again and we just finished the initial Time Machine backup.

iOS Devices

I pay for a 2TB iCloud storage plan that is shared with my wife. Our iPhones and iPads all backup to iCloud nightly. We store all of our documents on the service too.

We don’t use iCloud Photo Library, though. Instead, we use Google Photos — the primary reason being their excellent Partner Sharing feature. The feature automatically shares each photo and video to each other’s library. This means we don’t have to worry about who took a given picture or where the full version is stored — we both have access to all of the.

And seriously, Apple, get that feature figured out so I don’t have to maintain an additional service.

But Google Photos doesn’t give us the option to store local copies on the Mac, so a few times each year we manually backup photos from our iPhones and iPads to the Mac Mini server using the Photos app.

So every single photo we take and video we record is stored in six locations — the original device, Google Photos, the iCloud device backup, the Mac Mini’s media drive, backup drive, and Backblaze. It might seem like overkill, but our family photo library is almost certainly the most important data that we have and I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Overall

The pillars of my backup strategy are Time Machine, Backblaze, iCloud, and Google Photos. As I mentioned above, it would be nice if Apple finally introduced a solution for family photo libraries. Then we could eliminate Google Photos from our setup and we’d no longer need to manually backup photos to the Mac Mini, since the Photos app offers the option to store full size local copies of everything in your iCloud Photo Library.

But in terms of locally stored backups, I’m pretty happy with the setup. Since everything is stored inside the OWC ThunderBay 6, if there was ever an emergency, I could grab my iPhone and the ThunderBay. Those two items contain all of the important data in my life.

OWC miniStack ➝

I bought a couple of these OWC miniStacks that I’m using to upgrade our Mac Mini home server. The drive I had been using with Plex was running low on available space and I figured I’d get something that looked slick alongside the Mini. I wish they had an updated version that was in the Mac Mini’s new space gray color. I would have bought that instead so that when I eventually get a new Mac Mini, it would match. But I guess the silver enclosure will have to do.

I’ve only setup one of the miniStacks so far — paired with a 4TB Seagate drive. I’m slowly transferring everything over as I type this, deleting and organizing along the way. I haven’t bought a drive for the second enclosure quite yet, but I’m likely getting an 8TB drive that will be used as a Time Machine target for the Mac Mini and my work laptop.

➝ Source: owcdigital.com

How to Set Up Time Machine Server ➝

Stephen Hackett:

It used to be that to run a Time Machine Server, you needed to be running a copy of macOS Server on your host machine, but those days are now gone. Anyone running High Sierra or later on a Mac can now turn that Mac into a destination for remote machines to use for Time Machine.

Say you have a Mac mini on your network, and a MacBook Pro. You can hook up an USB hard drive to that Mac mini, and within a few minutes, be backing your MacBook Pro up across your network using Time Machine.

Saved for future reference, when I eventually retire our Time Capsule and buy an Eero kit.

How to Verify Time Machine Backups ➝

We all know the importance of backing up, but I bet very few of us regularly verify that our backups aren’t corrupted. This is a simple, yet essential, step to any good backup system.

Best Backup Plan for Your Mac ➝

Peter Cohen and Lory Gil, writing for iMore:

If you’re using any one, individual technique to make sure your Mac is backed up, you may be wondering why you have to combine strategies at all. The main reason is redundancy: You don’t want a single point of failure in the system to keep you from gaining access to the files that you need.

My current backup system includes all of my Macs running Time Machine pointed at our Time Capsule and myself occasionally making clones with SuperDuper. I know it’s not as comprehensive as it should be. Here are the two main problems:

  • I don’t have an offsite backup.
  • There’s no system in place for regular SuperDuper clones — I do them when I think about it, which is less frequently than I should.

What I hope to do in the future is sign up for BackBlaze, which will give me an offsite solution, and setup a reminder system for cloning.