Simple File Automation

I have a photo library on my Mac that I’d like to back up regularly, and set it up to do automatically. I know something like Hazel exists, but it might be overkill to have the single file (Library file) get copied to my Synology once a month.

Are there any ways I can do this automatically without spending money on an app that would be overkill?

1 Like

Check out this discussion, which mentions Carbon Copy Cloner and ChronoSync as possibilities to do incremental backups of the Photos library:

I’m using SuperDuper to do incremental backups of my whole Mac (“Smart Copy” in the app’s terms), which I presume does incremental backups of the Photos library as part of that backup.

1 Like

+1 on CCC, ChronoSync, or SuperDuper!

Hazel would be appropriate if you wanted to perform per-file processing. For example, if every time a file dropped into a folder you would want it to be remained using the date of the photograph or some EXIF data, and moved to a subfolder based on year and date of the image.

For backup purposes, you want something like the above software to clone your photo library using an incremental backup process on a scheduled basis, which with these apps you can set up to suit your needs.

You may also want to look into something like BackBlaze for online backup.


How do they do incremental back ups when it looks like a “single file”

It looks like a single file because it is something MacOS calls a “package.” A package is basically a folder that Finder represents as a single file, but internally it has a folder structure and individual files.

You can see this if you control-click on the package file in Finder. The pop up menu will have an option to show package contents, which will open a Finder window showing you the files and folders inside the package. You can also see the contents of a package appearing just like any other folder from the Terminal if you are comfortable working at the Unix command line.

The various cloning packages can handle packages just fine. I think (I’m not positive on this) that at one time they did handle a package as a single unit, so that if one file in a package was changed the whole package had to be recopied and now they are more sophisticated in their handling of packages, but I have not delved into this and so I may well be mistaken about this.

1 Like

Is there any more basic programs that would be out there? For what I’d need to do a “single” thing, some of them at $40+

I’m not really sure. For me, the cost for CCC was worth the use, so I never looked for heaped alternatives.

If you happen to have Setapp, there may be some sort of backup utility in the mix.

ChronoSync Express is on Setapp. I’m not sure how that stacks up to the full version. There’s also an there named Get Backup Pro, but I’m not as familiar with that one.

In the spirit of saving money, maybe consider automator?

There is a type of automation called Calendar Alarm that might to what you need. Make a new one, and add the actions Get Specified Finder Items (in which you choose your photos) leading in to Copy Finder Items (with your Synology as target). Lastly throw in a Display Notification to let you know it ran.

I didn’t got that far, but presumably next you can simply add a recurring Calendar event to trigger it.

Don’t know Shortcuts very well, but there might be a way to do it over there as well.

1 Like

Do you think it will do the incremental updates or just the whole library?

I’ve not used Automator for much of anything to be honest.

Welcome to MPU! Since there’s a “P” in there, and since MacOS is basically a delicious candy coating on top of a reasonably decent Unix, I’ll suggest that if you’re comfortable with such things, using the built in Unix commands (rsync and cron (or whatever scheduler MacOS uses) may do the trick for an investment of time instead of money.

Personally, I’d go the already suggested CCC (or SuperDuper, but I haven’t used that) route, which is more or less a well worth it front end for rsync.

I suspect it will do the whole thing and you’ll thus want to enable the Replace existing files setting.