MacOS Big Sur Back-Ups?

Disappointed “Hands On Mac” and “Ask the Tech Guy” are gone. Where can I go for help with backing up Mac Big Sur? Until now, I have happily used “SuperDuper!” from Shirt Pocket Software on Mojave. As always, a Leo recommendation that has been terrific. But Shirt Pocket Software’s last comment on backing up Big Sur was on November 11 and said, “… if you must move to Big Sur, use Time Machine.” How do I make an image back-up like I could for Mojave with “SuperDuper!” or on Win 10 using the built-in image back-up program? It looks to me like Apple just doesn’t want me to be able to do an “image back-up” ever again. Help me, Leo-Wan Kenobi and “Hands on Mac.”

Try Carbon Copy Cloner, I think they can do an image backup. I bet they’re just a bigger operation than Shirt Pocket and have more resources, so they made it happen sooner.

It sounded like the way Apple released betas made it very hard for these backup companies to do their thing in Big Sur. I think Apple is just moving lots of parts, so they probably had to turn that off while they can figure out how to make it work within the new security paradigm.

Apparently, there is a big change in Big Sur that makes image backups not possible. Leo had touched upon it at one point.

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I was thinking about this the other day. We can now reset and reinstall macOS from the Internet, Apps are installed from the App Store or downloaded, and data is synced to your cloud of choice - do we still need image backups? I’m not taking them any more - but is this a mistake?

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I have Carbon Copy Cloner running on the new M1 MacBook Air with default Big Sur. My understanding is, since the OS is isolated on a separate partition from my apps and data, all that is necessary is to backup the apps and data. If I want a bootable external device, I would need to install Big Sur to that device. When I upgraded the drive in my older MBA, Superduper on external SSD failed to boot so I ended up using an SD card and using macOS Disk Utility to restore my apps and data from the Superduper backup. Other than needing to learn how to make a bootable SD card and figuring out where to download Catalina, the rest of the restore was painless.

It is your data, more than a boot image that is important. Even if it is synced to the cloud, as opposed to backed up to the cloud (the former keeps the copy in the cloud in sync with what is on the PC and is not a backup, the latter is a distinct copy (usually with multiple revisions)).

If you get hit by cryto malware, for example, or you corrupt a file or delete it, you can’t get it back from a cloud sync, because the copy in the cloud has been encrypted, synced or deleted as well. Some cloud services, like OneDrive (I don’t know about iCloud) do keep multiple versions available, but I still wouldn’t trust them 100% as a backup.

I use Carbonite, on my PC, in addition to syncing my files to HiDrive (European, GDPR equivalent to OneDrive, iCloud etc.), a separate HDD and to my NAS which get synced daily at a fixed time. I put Backblaze on my daughter’s MacBook Pro (she had Carbonite, but it stopped working, so I cancelled it and we switched to Backblaze).

A PC/Mac and its operating system and apps can be quickly re-installed and are “cheap”. But how much are all your memories and other data worth? To me, they are worth the cost of paying for a proper backup.

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Agreed. I have two additional copies of everything, one here and one elsewhere to cover the ‘house burnt to the ground’ scenario.

On the original point, SuperDuper still works with Big Sur to take a backup of data, doesn’t it? It’s the bootable image backup that doesn’t work with Big Sur.

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Thank you very much for all the interesting replies. Here’s why I want the boo table disk image. I have bandwidth caps. So repeatedly downloading from the Internet is why I keep wanting image back-ups. I’m working a lot with iMovie and old VHS home videotapes I have from 20-30 years ago. The files are enormous (as you would expect). So when I’m done editing, I like to revert to a “clean” OS and start over. When I just delete, I find there is a lot of “stuff” left behind that I just can’t find and delete. Or… if I try out a new program and decide I don’t like it, if I can go replace the whole image with a clean one, I have no trace or stubs leftover. It’s as though I never put it on the machine. Downloading the same OS and apps over and over again just gobble up the bandwidth which I don’t have (and, frankly, can’t afford). The cloud is great if it’s unlimited. But with caps, and the meter always running, it’s a huge burden. And iOS is horrible about that. If I restore from the backup, it forces me to download the all the apps from instead of being able to restore from the local hard drive. Killer. Hard drives are cheap. Bandwidth (for me) is not. Thanks for all the suggestions. I have looked at CCloner but just don’t understand the explanations. I’m an appliance operator, not a guru. Some things are just beyond me.

Would this help?

It probably still goes out to the internet, but would at least save you the initial 8gb download.

Excellent idea. Thank you. Noticed that if I download from App Store to Mojave (which is what I use), Iget the "full"install. Looks like updates to apps (like iMovie, etc.) have to be downloaded separately, however – again running up the meter. Anything to save bandwidth. Thanks, again.