M1 MacBook Air Setup

Borrowing an idea from the Mac Geek Gab’s Dave Hamilton.

I haven’t had a Mac for over a year as my mid-2012 15” MacBook Pro screen stopped working and my wife’s 2009 15” MacBook Pro gave up the ghost.

I decided to setup everything as new on my new M1 MacBook Air with a 512GB internal drive.

My thoughts on the setup I am thinking about:

Account 1: My account using the “Optimize Storage” option for photos and documents. Keeping my music library on iCloud using my Apple Music subscription. That way I have all my information without carrying any external drives

Account 2: My wife’s account using “Full Version” for all her photos, documents and music (much smaller space requirements from mine.)

Account 3: A “Backup” account that logs in with my Apple ID. All data goes on an external drive with “Full Versions” option checked. That way I have a “copy” of all my data that I can backup to whatever sources I choose (i.e. Time Machine; Carbon Copy Clone drive; another online storage option).

One issue that I am aware of: I can’t use Fast User Switching because my account and the backup account would be accessing the iCloud data simultaneously. I understand that can pose a significant problem especially with the Photos Library.

I would appreciate any thoughts.

It sounds economical but precarious to me as well as being a bit of a chore to switch accounts and stay on #3 until you’re sure syncing has completed. Would prefer getting something like a used Mac Mini (doesn’t have to be newer M1), putting it on a shelf running, and setting up Account 3 on it with the drive always attached and backup always running.

Would this setup with a used Mac Mini need to be Big Sir if I did this and the optimized MacBook Pro is on Big Sir?

Not a bad idea either. Thank you for the input.