How are you Backing Up?

Since it’s a new year, I thought I’d document how I’m backing up these days. How are y’all doing it?


My scheme is pretty simple:

  • MBP to Backblaze and Time Machine
  • Archive data is stored on on a Synology NAS, which is backed up to Backblaze B2

I realize in saying this that my NAS doesn’t have a tertiary backup. Probably need to resolve that.

My Mac is a home server:

All Files to Backblaze B2 via Arq Backup
All Files to local Time Machine
All non-Media files also to S3 Glacier via Arq Backup

All non-Media files also to an APFS encrypted SSD via ChronoSync - for use by my iPad Pro if the Mac is unavailable.

I keep it simple:

  • iCloud Photo Library is set to download everything
  • If it’s a file I remotely care about in OneDrive, it’s set to download to the local drive… I have to opt folders out of this through Finder (can’t do this with iCloud Drive, main reason why I don’t use it)
  • Everything on the internal drive gets backed up to Time Machine and Backblaze
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For all Macs:

  • clone to external HDD
  • backup to time machine
  • backup to Synology

For iOS / iPadOS devices:

  • backup to iMazing
  • from there to the Synology

For the Synology:

  • Hyperbackup to Synology C2

Well, I’m writing this before I even read your blog post, which means there is a chance that by tonight I will be changing it, but…

My backups funnel through my desktop iMacPro, which has an internal 1TB SSD for system files and nearly all data, and a 1TB USB-C SSD which hold my photo library.

  • Time machine runs to an external USB 3.0 spinning hard drive.
  • Carbon Copy Cloner does two daily clones of the system SSD, one to a USB 3.0 SSD bootable clone, and a second to an external Thunderbolt 3 connected Drobo 8D.
  • CCC does two daily clones of the external photo library drive, one to a second USB 3.0 SSD and one to the Drobo 8D.

I have a Synology which contains all of my media, as well as serving as the server for SynologyDrive (more on that in a moment). The medial folder synced via SynologyDrive to the Drobo 8D on the iMac Pro as well.

BackBlaze runs on the iMac Pro and backs up the internal SSD, the external photo library drive, and currently also backs up the synced medial folder from the Synology. However, I am switching the media folder backup by having the Synology’s HyperBackup utility back up the media into a B2 vault. Once that is done I will stop the BackBlaze inclusion of the media folder. I am making this change in anticipation that I may sell the iMac Pro shortly and have not decided if I will replace it with an M1 Mini or go just with my laptop for now.

I presently have two laptops, a 13" MBP (intel) and an MBAir (M1); the MBP is going to my wife shortly.

On both of the laptops, ALL files short of the Library folder are in SynologyDrive synced folders, and hence exist also on the Synology (one backup) and the iMacPro (second local backup). As such, then are then copied to the two CCC clones of the iMacPro’s internal drive and thence to BackBlaze as well.

The result is that all files of any important are located in multiple local places: one copy on each laptop, one on the Synology, one on the iMac Pro, two separate local clones of the iMacPro, a Time Machine copy, and one in BackBlaze. Due to versioning in SynologyDrive, BackBlaze, and CCC clones (I have it set to archive all changed and deleted files since I have plenty of room on the Drobo) I have history in multiple places as well.

My photo library exists on its own drive, two clones, in TimeMachine, and in BackBlaze as well, again with versioning.

As a result, I think I am pretty well covered :).

If I decide to go without a desktop for a while, then everything will be on the laptop and the Synology, and I will move the BackBlaze account to the laptop, so at all times I will still have three copies that are up to date. I will connect the photo library to the laptop as needed, and while it is connected of course it will go to BackBlaze as well. I will move the various clone drives to a TB hub, so that when I plug the laptop in, I will get the various clones and TimeMachine does as well, and will also create a Time Machine destination on the Synology so whenever I am on my home network a TM backup will also take place. Again I think that will afford acceptable protection and versioning.

I should also mention that I have an active Arq license and love the software, but went over to BackBlaze because I have so much data that the unlimited storage made it worthwhile.

which runs BackBlaze for cloud backup for the internal drive and

  • Time Machine on a server Mac.
  • Chronosync from primary computers (my wife’s and my iMacs) to the server Mac.
  • Backblaze from server to cloud.
  • Clone backups of all computers, one copy offsite.

This means that our important files on our iMacs exist as five different copies in three physical locations. Important files on the server exist as four different copies in three physical locations.

Good article, but you threw me with ‘Scarif’. I know what a SCIF is, but I had to google Scarif. Shoulda known.

I also name my attached SSD “Dagobah”, but I left that out of the article. :slight_smile:


Just changed part of my strategy.

Both Macs (wife’s and mine) are backed up to locally attached drives with CCC and Time Machine. Both are copied to a Mac Mini server that also serves as a media and archive store. It is backed up to a local drive and to BackBlaze. While not a backup per se all my photos and documents are synced to iCloud.

An important part of any backup process is testing/verifying your backups. Are they actually working and can you get your data back?

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Current Setup

My M1 Mac Mini with 1 TB internal storage

  • has 2 x 4TB passport drives under the desk (copied the velcro idea from @MacSparky)
  • Drive 1 - Time Machine Backup
  • Drive 2 - Carbon Copy Clone
  • Mac Mini + Drive 1 (Time Machine) all get backed up to BackBlaze
  • Working Files at completion are sent to Synology NAS

Wife’s MacBook with 500GB internal storage

  • Backup needs are minimal for her
  • Time Machine
  • Backblaze
  • Working files at completion are sent to Synology NAS


  • iCloud
  • iMazing to Synology

Synology DS1513+ in SHR-2 configuration (5 x 3TB drives) using roughly 7TB

  • Complete backup to Cloud Provider 1 (Wasabi)
  • Complete backup to Cloud Provider 2 (BackBlaze)

2021 Plans

  1. Purchasing Synology DS1821+ (8 bay)
  2. Waiting for a sale on 6TB or 8TB drives
  3. Add 3rd Cloud Provider for the Synology
  4. Original Synology DS1513+ becomes 4th backup for Main Synology.
  • Time Machine
  • Regular backups of /User and external storage
  • Main backup device: Synology NAS
  • Additionally HD
  • Everything to Backblaze

I noticed @MacSparky has one of his back up drives hooked up to a USB hub. That doesn’t cause problems? Seems like hardware doesn’t like to be hooked up to hubs, so I always figured backup drives should be connected directly to the computer. Even if works ok (which apparently it does), does it slow down the transfer much?

I’ve frequently backed up to spinning drives connected to a powered hub. Never had a problem.

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My 2 passports are hooked up to Anker 10-port USB port. No issues keeping it there.

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It can be a problem with unpowered hubs due to the drive not getting enough power. Powered hubs usually work fine.

Has anyone got a good place to go to learn how to use my NAS more efficiently as a backup? I bought it to store documents on but would love to make it apart of a backup system. Being a complete novice I am struggling on where to start.

Can iMazing “transfer iOS” from old iPhone to new iPhone? I want to buy the 12 lineup but don’t want to lose the chat history from iMessage, WhatsApp and LINE that currently in my iPhone SE.

If it’s a Synology the manual has everything you need to know for using it as a Time Machine destination. You can also set aside a portion and use something like Chronosync to it. Their included documentation is pretty good.

2020 iMac (Big Sur)

  • Chronosync to Mac-mini server (below)
    • backup home and iCloud folders, and entire external usb SSD
  • Photos to iCloud and Google for now

2012 Mac mini server (Mojave)

  • 2 - 4 TB HD connected via USB3 set at RAID 0
  • collects backups from:
    • iMazing for my iPad Pro and iPhones
    • via Chronosync for my iMac
  • backed up to Backblaze

Second 2012 Mac Mini server (High Sierra)

  • 2 - 6 TB WD Red Drives via USB3
  • eBooks, Plex, File storage, small web server, Resilio Sync
  • Backed up to Backblaze

No longer using Time Machine, too many issues, too much fuss

All three machines cloned to external USB drives using Carbon Copy Cloner