Most Mac backup programs — other than Time Machine — are wrappers for rsync, a Unix utility that efficiently syncs files and directories across drives. My favorite rsync feature is the ability to create bootable volumes, which means when your system drive croaks — and it will — you can restart on the backup and everything will be as you left it at the time of the last backup.
I stopped using Time Machine years ago because it's slow and a resource hog. Good for casual users, less so for professional users.
On a Mac, you can take the rsync backup and restart on any Mac that supports the version of Mac OS you're using. Handy if the system dies and you need to get back to work. A major advantage over Windows.
Two of the most popular rsync-based apps for Mac are SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner. I've bought and use both — SuperDuper! on a daily basis and CCC for partial syncs and for older versions of Mac OS. They're both solid packages that have served me well for years.
So Acronis True Image for Mac has some tough competition.
Key True Image differences
- Backs up to a local and an Acronis cloud service.
- Initial backup faster then rsync.
- Local backups are saved in a proprietary compressed .tib format that can only be recovered through True Image.
- Cloud backups are saved in native formats and can be recovered to any Mac from the Acronis Cloud web app.
- Backups can be saved both locally and to the cloud.
- Local backups can be encrypted; cloud data is automatically encrypted.
- Backs up your Parallels virtual Windows machine in it’s active state.
- Acronis bootable rescue media if the system drive won't boot.
- Keeps last 10 backups for rollback. First is a full copy; remaining copies are changes only. Oldest versions are deleted starting with the 11th backup.
Sounds good. But there are some surprising limits on what True Image can back up: Macs using Bootcamp; Fusion Drive; or File Vault 2 aren't supported.
For mobile users the File Vault 2 requirement might be a deal killer, while iMac users could find the Fusion Drive limitation difficult.
But all in all, Acronis True Image's feature set is a worthy alternative to rsync-based Mac backup software. So how does it work?
Next: testing True Image