Which backup software do you recommend for Mac OS X?

As you probably know, Leopard comes with an integrated backup tool called Time Machine. It works pretty well despite it misses some advanced restore/search features.

Here's a list of backup software for Mac OS X:

Do you know more? What software do you use and which feature can't you live without?

  • I would definitely add the iGoUSB Backup to the list (commercial with a free trial). It's geared for data folders (projects, code, photos, etc). Has versioning and deduplication built right in ...
    – Notitze
    Commented Jan 9, 2011 at 0:32

10 Answers 10


I use Time Machine and (registered) SuperDuper. Time machine is good for being able to access old versions of files and generally "not having to think about it". I do a full drive clone with SuperDuper every week, so I have a backup I can boot from if my main drive fails. The smart copy feature is well worth the registration cost - a week's worth of changes on 60GB take about 20 mins to backup.

  • 1
    I use a combo of SuperDuper and an rsync script to copy a subset of my stuff out to my amazon S3 JungleDisk account
    – Ted Naleid
    Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 18:23
  • My strategy is Time Machine for everything that I don't want to think of, and SuperDuper! for duplicating precious data such as media from camera and camcorder.
    – mouviciel
    Commented Aug 27, 2009 at 14:11

Time Machine. Set up and forget. Requires external hard drive.


Time Machine integrates well with, for example, Mail, Address Book or iPhoto. Simply enter Time Machine while one of these applications is active, and you'll get the regular star field with that application (rather than the normal Finder). Makes it easy to even restore messages from email accounts that you've already deleted a long time ago.

Note that one can easily use multiple Time Machine disks, to get some redundancy.


I use Time Machine (local) and JungleDisk http://www.jungledisk.com + Amazon S3 (offsite), but Im in the process of switching JungleDisk to CrashPlan http://www.crashplan.com since JungleDisk doesn't play nice with mobile 3G connections (it chokes them).

Very impressed by Crashplan so far. Works on Windows machines as well. If you have a mate you can be each others offsite backup and do it all for free :-)


While I do use TimeMachine for my desktop, I do backup other items (remote shares, and other miscellanea) using Synk Pro. Synk does a very good job, and it is easy to filter errors and warnings when a sync job has had issues. Far and away more usable than RsyncX.


I use CrashPlan, and the key feature for me is its extensive deduplication, which not only handles and reduces the space required for multiple copies of files, but also as files are changed or moved and renamed. Which is a big thing when backing up across the Internet (either to friends, or to their central service.)

Their free client (free for personal use) does a daily scan and backup. If you pay the small amount for their 'CrashPlan+' license then it will hook into your OS's native file monitor mechanisms and can be set to back up anything new or changed as often as once-per-minute.

  • 1
    For any online backup solution: what if you need to restore? How would you restore your system into a working state? And even when just restoring your documents and email: how much time would it take to download all? See also superuser.com/questions/19775/… for references to some test results on that.
    – Arjan
    Commented Aug 19, 2009 at 12:26
  • Offsite backup is only for the extreme scenario - like you house burns down. Also, the site you reference is not helpful at all...it only rates specific Crashplan PRO hosting providers if I read it correctly. My dad restored data from my disk in a few days. What's the big deal?
    – codewise
    Commented Dec 3, 2009 at 23:34
  • Well - houses burn down, they flood, computers get stolen. Until you've experienced one of those, you'll probably never see the point. (Sam - I think you must be referring to Arjan's link to a link. But it's actually an interesting comparison of a lot of services.)
    – jrg
    Commented Dec 10, 2009 at 0:08

I find rsync the most versatile. It even works in all platforms.


I use Time Machine (changed to run every 4 hours instead of every hour) and I use Apple Backup (part of MobileMe) to do an off-site backup once a week to MobileMe.

This setup has worked well for me for over a year now.

  • Why every 4 hours? Wouldn't a 4 hourly backup be 1 to 4 times larger than an hourly backup, so what's to win?
    – Arjan
    Commented Jul 16, 2009 at 10:12
  • The backup sucks up quite a bit of the CPU, so I prefer to not run it every hour. Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 13:59

I use Symantec Backup Exec 12.5 with the mac agent. It's been working flawless. Deployment of the agent can be a little bit tricky but once it's installed and configured backups pretty much run without a hitch. I backups up both data on our server and san.


By the examples you gave, I'm guessing that you're looking for an offline / on-site backup solution.

For online solutions, you can see Five Best Online Backup Solutions @ Lifehacker. If you have a hosting package like DreamHost's, which allows you some amount of backup space, rsync will usually do the trick.

As for offline solutions, which you seem to be looking for, I'd have to say that Time Machine is a clear winner when it comes to ease of use and of setup. If you're looking for a more configurable option, go with SuperDuper, which seems to offer the most features. If you're cheap / broken / etc., you could go with Carbon Copy Cloner, but it's definitely not as good as SuperDuper.

Note: I would like to have included links to the software I mentioned, but Stack Exchange's horrible "spam prevention" measure wouldn't let me include more than one.

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