How to Best Back up a Mac Using a Non-Apple Solution

The need to protect your Mac’s data shouldn’t come as a surprise, but there are plenty of options beyond just using iCloud and Time Machine. Here are some leading options if you need an Apple alternative.

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Backing up a Mac and protecting its data and configuration are usually tasks for Time Machine or iCloud. But for various reasons – maybe Apple isn’t an approved provider of cloud services at your company, or your company insists on using Windows-based solutions – Mac users may need to turn to other options. Here are some compelling alternatives, including those that work on-premises, via cloud-based services, or hybrid models that combine the best of both worlds.

Top non-Apple alternatives to backup your Mac

Local Applications

There are a variety of Time Machine alternatives for Mac users. Those looking to back up documents, spreadsheets, presentations, photos, videos, email, and other information locally without having to rely on a network connection to securely transfer files to the Internet for safekeeping can choose from a variety of strategies.

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For example, Western Digital’s My Passport for Mac products offer USB-C options for external hard drives. The external drives come in sizes up to 5TB — regular $159.99, but retail for $117.99 at the time of writing — and come with built-in 256-bit AES hardware encryption and proprietary software to encrypt the encryption To support backup and protection of the data that Mac users store on their computers.

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Seagate offers Mac users similar options with its Backup Plus drives. The manufacturer offers both USB-C compatible external drives and proprietary software to help sync and back up specific files and information. Both slim and desktop storage drives are available, including various capacities from 1TB up to 5TB, starting at around $50.

Hardened storage is another option. Mac users can choose Solo G3 from ioSafe as shown in Figure A. Designed to withstand fire and water damage, the Solo G3 desktop external storage drive connects via a USB 3 cable to collect and back up a Mac’s data in the field.

Figure A

ioSafe's Solo G3 enables local storage of Mac backups in an enclosure that protects against fire and flooding.
Image: ioSafe. ioSafe’s Solo G3 enables local storage of Mac backups in an enclosure that protects against fire and flooding.

While the device can collect Time Machine backups, users can also back up Mac data to ioSafe manually without using Time Machine, or even create and implement shortcuts that automate the backup process. A simple drag-and-drop operation is one of the manufacturer’s recommendations. Should a disaster strike, two years of available forensic data recovery service is just another feature built into the $299.99 2TB data storage option.

Used in conjunction with a tool such as Acronis Cyber ​​​​Protect Home Office for Mac, whose configuration example is shown in Figure B, ioSafe’s solution can receive and store local image copies of the Mac. The approach allows restoring not only a Mac’s files but also its applications and settings should the need arise.

Figure B

Acronis Cyber ​​Protection software has configuration software that can be used to customize a variety of settings.
Image: Acronis. Acronis Cyber ​​Protection software has configuration software that can be used to customize a variety of settings.

cloud services

Numerous applications are available to continuously and securely back up Mac files to the cloud. These providers include Backblaze and CrashPlan, for which a sample configuration is shown in Figure C.

Figure C

CrashPlan has an accessible software interface that simplifies the process of configuring various backup options.
Image: CrashPlan. CrashPlan has an accessible software interface that simplifies the process of configuring various backup options.

Backblaze allows for backing up an unlimited number of Mac files and unlimited file sizes, important considerations for advertising and marketing professionals, audio and video producers, graphic artists, and others who frequently create large files.

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As usual, Backblaze offers both personal and business backup plans, with Backblaze Unlimited Backup for personal use starting at $7 per month. While files can be recovered over the Internet, the company can ship you your data on an external hard drive for $189, an amount that’s refunded upon return of the drive.

Likewise, CrashPlan offers continuous protection and unlimited storage, as well as customizable retention rules. The company offers both small business and enterprise accounts, with small business pricing starting at $9.99 per device per month.

Still other popular solutions sync data between specific Mac directories and the cloud. Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive are two prominent examples.

These popular cloud options, which keep copies of data locally on a Mac but also sync files when changes are detected, offer compelling non-Apple solutions for backing up important files, especially common documents, spreadsheets, presentations, notes, pictures, and videos. While other solutions may prove better suited to backing up an entire Mac and its applications, these alternatives often serve to back up a Mac user’s most important and important data, especially considering email is increasingly being sent from hosted Platforms are supported that eliminate the need for local backups of messages.

Hybrid solutions

Similar to many providers, Acronis offers a cloud backup option. So, with an Acronis software solution in the mix, the appropriate Mac backups can be stored locally, as discussed earlier, using a Seagate, Western Digital, or even ioSafe device. Or, if a Mac user desires, Acronis images can also be backed up to the cloud or kept both locally and in the cloud.

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The same arrangement can often be repeated with other cloud providers as well. For example, you can add local disk to CrashPlan and many other backup solutions, providing a ready-made hybrid solution by managing both local and cloud-based backups.

Should I backup my Mac?

Whichever method you use, make sure you back up your Mac. Hard drives fail. Laptops can be stolen or lost. Coffee is spilled. Protect yourself and your Mac’s data from unexpected loss by making sure you have a trusted method of securely backing up and protecting your Mac’s information so that it can be restored to your unique needs.

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