Offline backup: which service is good on macOS?

Until recently I used CrashPlan Home for offline backups (unlimited size backups for 1 PC/Mac for $60/year). Unfortunately they stopped offering this Home plan. I’m currently in the 1 year grace period, where I get 75% off on the Pro plan (which is $10/month/system). This will end early 2019. So I need to look for a new service (or accept the 100% price increase). Complicating factor: I’m using CrashPlan on a Windows PC (still my main system), but plan to migrate to macOS before the grace period is over. Thus, I have not much experience with offline backups on macOS (I have a MacBook Pro from work, but can’t back up that machine to a cloud).

It seems like Backblaze gets a lot of good reviews, but I don’t think it’s a fit for me. Their only way of restoring (a few files) is apparently online (browser based) and (even if you use a private key that they don’t know) they will decrypt the files that you want to restore on their system… (you must type your key in a browser) No go!

SpiderOak is currently having a time limited offer (unlimited backups for multiple systems, for €179/year), but I have used this in the past on an old Mac mini which became terribly slow after installing it. In this week’s ATP John Siracusa mentioned this service and that it was not working properly for him.

Carbonite is the other service I heard several good things about, but when I tried it on a PC I was not able to freely select which files to backup. No go?

Any tips? What do you use/suggest for offline backups on macOS?

I chose CrashPlan because:

  • Unlimited storage size
  • Fixed price (no unpleasant surprises if I backup/restore a lot)
  • Private key not known by CrashPlan
  • Complete control over which files are backed up

(but I’m even open to using Arq with B2/Amazon/… if that is comparable in price)

I use Backblaze. I have an encrypted disk image that I keep sensitive information in, pics of passport, drivers license, tax returns. Thus, posting a key to download files isn’t an issue.
They also store 100 petabytes of data for thousands of customers. I don’t think security is a concern.


Backblaze is great!
Its my go-to disaster back-up when everything else has been lost in a catastrophic event.
Downloading all the data would take to much time. They offer a service to send a disk with the data on it.


Another Backblaze customer here.

If you are dead set against Backblaze, you might set up something using Arq and a cloud storage service. That gets you off of the “unlimited backup” though, so it may not be a good deal depending on how much data you have to back up.

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I use Arq Backup for backing up my Mac to a Backblaze B2 bucket.

Arq licensing is per user, so it costs $50 for the license, but then you own the software and you can back up as many Macs you are the primary user on.

I already pay for Backblaze B2 bucket for my Synology, so with my Macs I’m currently backing up 600GB for $7.80 a month (it grows depending on your bucket settings).

I would definitely suggest this option due to the security flaws consumer Backblaze has, but also because it only gives you 30 days to recover a file where as a B2 bucket you can select to keep as many copies or files forever. My main Mac Pro never deletes files, my MacBook Pro deletes after a year, and my Synology I have set buckets for the different media types and based on those types it either stays 30 days, 1 year, or deletes immediately.

I should mention I have a bucket for each Mac, which I think is the way to go for simplicity if you need to upgrade a Mac or if you want granular control of the lifecycles per Mac.


I will second @joshsullivan’s comments. He has covered all of the points that I generally make when recommending Arq.

I am not totally sure about Arq’s licensing policy at this point. For some reason, I seem to have a license for them that works on multiple computers and includes ALL future upgrades. Obviously I paid for this license at some point with an offer that included future upgrades, but I cannot recall when this happened.

I was a BackBlaze user, and its set it and forget it operation is great, but as @joshsullivan has pointed out, there are some serious (for me) shortcomings. I have had the experience of discovering that I had lost about 500GB of data at one time. It was old archival stuff, but nonetheless stuff I didn’t want to lose. When I checked my Arq backup data (at the time it was in Amazon Glacier, now I am also in BackBlaze B2) I found it had been deleted 6 months earlier. I restored it all. With BackBlaze, since I didn’t discover the loss for 6 months, I would have lost it permanently. NOT what I am looking for in my cloud storage.

I have about 2TB in B2; I pay around 11 dollars / month, and yes, it’s more expensive than BackBlaze, but note that that covers three different Macs and my Synology - if I used BackBlaze on each computer I’d be at $180/year to have a subscription for each Mac.

I also recommend arqbackup. It offers Trust No One security, and unlike many other solutions “Arq keeps multiple versions of your files — a backup history. So if you discover a file was corrupted or accidentally deleted, you can go back and get the old version.”

That feature saved me when I discovered a corrupted receipt file and had to go back nearly a year to find a good copy.

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Same situation with CrashPlan Home but I’m backing up 4 Macs, including a server. A bit over 2.5 TB. Neither BackBlaze or Carbonite will really work for me. I’ve strongly considered Arq and probably BackBlaze B2, but since one of the Macs is a server (on 24/7) I’ll probably use Chronosync to back up the other Macs to the server then keep the CrashPlan service (Small Business backing up a single computer), just backing up the single, server computer. This gives me the advantage of still another copy of files on the non-server systems. The more copies the better!


That sounds like a good plan, as long as CrashPlan for Business works well for you, and the ChronoSync frequency is often enough.

I had trouble years ago using CrashPlan. I found that for large amounts of data, it was constantly resyncronizing and out a huge load on my machine. Perhaps that problem was eventually fixed.

Because my laptop is my work machine, I have Arq do an hourly backup. The home Mini server and Synology go every 6 hours, as there is less file turnover on them.

I’m only doing the ChronoSync once a night. I’ve also got TimeMachine to handle recovery of more frequent changes, but even then If I lose a day in my life it wouldn’t be critical. The infrequent syncing should make things easier for CrashPlan, plus the server basically loafs all the time and having the CrashPlan task only on that system relieves the burden on the other computers.

What made you realize the data was missing?

Thanks for the recommendations so far. I might need to investigate Arq further!

Looks like I currently have about 300 GB of data in CrashPlan, so B2 might be worth trying.

Is Arq “set-and-forget”? Does it run all the time? Or at a fixed/scheduled time? Does it remove older data?

In my experience it has been a set and forget. I have the email feature set up to email me if there are any issues and once a week I go and check to logs (because I’m a little paranoid) but I’ve found everything seems to be working as expected. When I first set it up I had it email every time it did a backup and after about 2 weeks I didn’t see an issue and switched to only errors.

I have my Mac Pro backup on a fixed daily time at 11:30PM, and my MacBook Pro set to backup at 12:30AM, giving an hour between the 2. Just today I’ve tried mounting a Synology shared drive and backing that up (on @nlippman’s suggestion and that has worked great so far).

The option for scheduling can be hourly, daily, or manually:

I would have preferred a set days schedule, but I can do this with Keyboard Maestro and Arq manual backup.


I have no idea; it was a few years ago. I was, I would assume, either looking for a file that I had not needed / seen in some time, or I might have been copying a drive over to a replacement and noticed that something was missing.

Thankfully, my Arq backup rescued the files.

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No, incorrect. Others have already piled on, I’ll just say you need to research it more thoroughly.

I’m a longtime Backblaze user, and a very happy one.

The Wirecutter agrees.

So does The Sweet Setup.

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Not sure which part of rob’s post you’re saying is incorrect, but from the thesweetsetup article you linked:

So yes, Arq with Amazon S3 can be a tad more expensive for those with a significant amount of data to back up, but you get quite a few advantages. Not the least of which is that Arq keeps the decryption of your data local, whereas Backblaze decrypts on their servers.

Can you please point me in the right direction?

This procedure (or sending a drive) was the only one I could find on their website.

I love Backblaze and if you need to restore they will send you a drive.

It’s very important to remember that backaze only makes a mirror image of your Mac, leaving out system files and the apps installed, and has no facility to archive older files (I.e. offload them to the cloud and free up space on he Mac).

The beauty of Crashplan was that you told it what to back up, including apps, and you could configure it never to erase files that were in the backup in the cloud but no longer present on the Mac being backed up. Backblaze erases these files, overwriting your backup with what’s currently on your hard drive. .

I’m aware of this option, but my experience so far is that I only needed to restore a few files now and then (because I accidentally removed/modified/… them). Paying/waiting for a drive to be sent is not the best solution then. I’d really like to restore single files client side.