Why Mac Users should do Backups

Why Backup?

  • HDD failure.
  • Virus infection (Mainly Windows)
  • Your computer could be destroyed by Fire, Flood or Stolen.
  • Accidental deletion of objects.
    • (an object is a common term for anything that exists on your computer such as a file, photograph, video, music, e-mail entry etc..)

You must have the ability to recover a single object or the entire system.

What to backup?

Before you start, Don’t forget to backup your iPhone and iPad up to your computer using iTunes. Alternatively, copy photos etc. from your iPhone / iPad using Photo Transfer application.

Entire system Using SuperDuper and time machine as below.


Documents, Photos, Video, Music (iTunes).

A list of Applications purchased and installed and their keys.

Most Applications can be downloaded but a copy of the .img file can be kept on a DVD etc.

Details of your email account and apple account.

Safari Bookmarks. (/Library/Safari Bookmarks.plist)

How to do it?

Use Apple Time machine to an external drive. Have a disk drive with the same or more capacity than the drive in your computer. Don’t exceed 80 percent of your Macintosh HD capacity. Over this amount can cause performance problems.

Use Super Duper to an external drive (Entire contents of Macintosh HD to an external drive)

Note: If the drive is Firewire or Thunderbolt connected, you can reboot your machine from the external drive that has been used for backup using SuperDuper.

Use Copy and Paste to copy objects to a Memory stick, Digital Versatile Disk (DVD), External Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or Solid State Drive (SSD)

Backup iTunes using the information from Apple https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201625

Copy your iTunes Library (User/Music/iTunes) to an external disk.

Use iCloud to mirror objects.

Although this is “Off Site” it is also in the hands of a third party. You have to rely on their good housekeeping and the reliability and speed of the internet to recover this information. There is also an ongoing cost of owning space on iCloud.


Ensure your backup media is stored away from your computer. Why?

In the event of flood, theft, fire, civil disturbance etc, your backup is in another building and hopefully safe.

Have Grandfather, Father & Son copies to allow rollback.

Copy your Documents, photographs, video, music on to memory sticks. These can be easily stowed in your luggage when going on holiday.

For very personal information wear the memory stick on a lanyard round your neck.

You can never have too many copies of your “stuff”.

You can never recover those memorable photos if they are gone!


Easiest way

Super Duper and Time machine will restore your complete machine in the event of a failure.

Hard Way

If you get a replacement computer, and don’t have Super Duper or Time machine, but have backed your documents, photographs and Music to a Memory stick, external HDD etc,

Set up your computer as a new one and copy and paste your documents, photos etc.

Set up your email account and hopefully you will get your emails back from the external email server. Restore your iTunes Library.


  • Off line backup
  • Organise objects into annual groups
  • Backup older groups of objects
  • Delete older objects to free space on the hard drive It will make the computer run more efficiently and reduce clutter
  • Make 2 copies of the archive material in case of media errors
  • Document what you have archived, to allow easy recovery

Any objects that are not in constant use, occupy space on your computer.

By copying these objects to memory sticks etc. you can then delete them.

Make sure you have at least 2 copies and keep a record of what you have on the off line media.


From time to time, check your backup is working, go into time machine and try to restore an object. Reboot from your SuperDuper Disk and make sure it works. (If it is USB connected it may not).

Look at your memory sticks and see if you can view those photos or videos you have backed up.

Bob Rudd November 2017