Acronis True Image for Mac review

Summary:The most original Mac backup product in years is out from Acronis, a leading Windows backup vendor. But is different better? Here's what I found.

Installation is normal. Download a .dmg - disk image - file; double-click to open; drag the app to the Application folder alias; open the Application folder and double-click on the Acronis True Image app; enter the serial number (evals are available) and you get this window:

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 10.25.23 PM


Click on the destination icon and a pop-up shows available media, which includes internal drives (HDD, SSD, RAID), USB drives, FireWire drives, Thunderbolt, Network share, NAS, and Acronis Cloud.

Choose a drive and the Start Backup button goes live. Click settings, and you get this popup:

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 10.26.52 PM

Once the backup starts there's a progress window that updates in real time. If there's an error - Acronis didn't like accessing my USB 3.0 drive through a hub - you get a clear message that the backup didn't happen.

Backup experience
Once the backup started I found I could work normally - writing, surfing, email - as the process used about half of my 2.0GHz dual-core I7 cycles.

When the backup completed, I could see that the True Image compression saved me about 20 percent of my capacity, which, given that I have a lot of compressed video, seems about right. It also made the initial backup about 20 percent faster than a full rsync backup.

Once you have a complete backup, you can choose to create bootable rescue media on the backup drive. Once done you can then follow the normal Mac process - boot holding down the option key - to choose the backup volume. This window then shows your choices:

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 10.26.04 PM

But if you just want to recover a file you'll get a Finder-like window that looks like this:

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 3.26.21 AM


Recovery to the same location is probably easiest.

The Storage Bits take
Overall, Acronis True Image is a polished backup application with a simple and clear interface. Most users should be able to navigate it with little trouble.

But there are a few interface nits:

  • Measures capacity in GiB, not GB - which we know many Mac users will find confusing, since Apple fixed the GiB capacity bug 5 years ago.
  • Doesn't use your Mac drive name, instead uses My Mac. A matter of taste mostly, but I prefer to know which drive we're talking about. 
  • The file recovery window opens folders only in hierarchical text mode. Navigation will get difficult if you have to go deep to find a lost file, if you don't know exactly where it was as there is no search option.
  • The inability to recover files from local storage on a non-Acronis equipped Mac could bite some users at a typically stressful time. I'd prefer a work around to enable that. 

I didn't test the Acronis cloud storage, but given the upload speeds most Americans have it would take days, if not weeks, to perform the first backup. Once complete the process should be smooth.

The final nit is pricing. True Image is priced at $49.99. Folks with multiple Macs can purchase a 3 Mac license for $79.99. Acronis Cloud storage options are available, starting at $49.99/year for 250GB and going to $189.99/year for 1TB.

That's steeper than the competition for both the app - SuperDuper is $27.95 - and the online storage from vendors such as Backblaze and Crashplan who offer all-you-can-eat pricing for around $50 a year.

But for users who value simplicity and ease-of-use that may not matter. The True Image all-in-one service - file and disk recovery both local and online - may be the package to get the millions who don't backup to finally start protecting their data.

Congratulations to Acronis for bringing something new and helpful to the Mac market. 

Comments welcome, as always. What will it take to get you to back up?

Topics: Storage, Apple, Enterprise Software


Robin Harris is Chief Analyst at TechnoQWAN LLC, a storage research and consulting firm he founded in 2005. Based in Sedona, Arizona, TechnoQWAN focuses on emerging technologies, products, companies and markets. Robin has over 35 years experience in the IT industry and earned degrees from Yale and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton... Full Bio

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