Backup Your Mac

The Ultimate Guide to Backing Up Your Mac: TimeMachine Vs CarbonCopyCloner Vs Cloud

Backing up your Mac is very important. If you’ve experienced data loss yourself, then you know the pain that it causes. All of our photos, documents and history on a computer gone, poof, vanished. Now if you’re reading this, you’re most likely concerned that you might lose your data or you’ve lost your data and don’t want it to happen again. We’ve broken down a few different ways you can back up your files from professional setup to basic and exactly the steps you need to take. There are pros and cons to each so you can pick the right one for you.

Apple Time Machine Folders


TimeMachine Backups 

TimeMachine is most Mac users go to and for a good reason. It’s the native application built into every Mac that will automatically backup your files regularly allowing you to restore at any time. To create a TimeMachine backup, you need external storage connected to your Mac.

Using An External HDD

You can pick up a whole heap of external HDDs online from sources like Amazon or Ebuyer. Prices range from £40 for a small and slow 1TB drive up to £500 for a 10TB USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 archive. Most Mac users will use USB. USB is the most common standard port across models and featured in all but the latest. If you’re using the latest models, you can find USB-C or Thunderbolt, but they cost more.

We recommend something like the Maxtor M3 4TB. At only £82 its a great price with plenty of space.


  • Fast connection to your storage
  • No ongoing monthly costs
  • Smallest starting price


  • Drives could get lost
  • Drives could get damaged
  • Your single backup drive could fail
  • You will need an external drive for every Mac
  • You’ll need to plug it the drive in to start backing up

Using Network Storage

If you’re serious about backing up and possibly have multiple devices to backup a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device is the way to go. You’ll connect it to your internet. Without a doubt, the Western Digital My Cloud series of products is the best way to go. You can start as small as £144.99 for 2TB to 20TB for £999. Backing all your Macs up to one central location with no loose drives and no chance of misplacing your backups.

Check out the MyCloud website


  • No cables or plugging in
  • A central place for all of your backups
  • Can easily handle multiple devices
  • No ongoing monthly cost
  • You can set up backups of your backups
  • Will never get lost or damaged
  • Will backup when connected to your internet


  • More expensive than an external on its own
  • Requires a little bit of setup
  • Backup speed could be affected by a slow WiFi connection

Carbon Copy Cloner

TimeMachine is excellent, but CarbonCopyCloner will create a bootable backup. If you run into an issue with your system, you can immediately boot into your backup and continue working away. Once you’ve got some spare time, you can look into the failure of your original drive.

Using An External HDD or SSD

An external drive is the preferred method for using carbon copy cloner because, in case of a failure, you have a drive on hand to immediately boot from. The faster the speed of the drive, the better because if your external drive is slow, this will affect how your bootable backup performs when using it.

Here is the list of officially recommended drives:

USB 3.1, Portable External SSD

These devices offer a moderate amount of storage and excellent performance.

Oyen Shadow Mini External USB-C (USB 3.1) Portable SSD (1-2TB)

Oyen Digital MiniPro Dura USB-C (USB 3.1) Rugged (1-2TB)

USB 3.1, Desktop External Hard Drive

G-Technology G-DRIVE USB-C External Drive 4TB

Oyen Novus External USB-C Rugged Desktop Hard Drive (2TB-10TB)

Thunderbolt, Desktop External Hard Drive

HighPoint RocketStor RS5212 Thunderbolt Storage Dock

Do not use a USB thumb drive or SD card to backup to as you will not have the required space.


  • Bootable backup for instant use
  • Schedule backups
  • Walkthrough guide for setup
  • Support team assistance
  • Discount for volume purchases for businesses with maintenance assistance
  • Far more features and options than TimeMachine


  • An initial purchase of £32.25 for personal
  • The only way to properly backup is with an external drive

Buy Carbon Copy Cloner 5 now with 15% off!
Expires November 28th 2019

Cloud Storage

Lastly, we have cloud storage. Now you won’t be doing full backups of your system, but it’s the easiest and quickest way to keep your files safe and access them from anywhere. There are a few providers of cloud storage, so here’s each one and how they stack up.

Apple iCloud

You can use iCloud on all of your Apple devices and share your photos and documents automatically across your devices. There is an iCloud Drive application for Windows, so you’re not locked to just you Apple devices either. iCloud backup can also be used to automatically backup your iPad and iPhone just in case it’s lost or broken.


  • 50GB – £0.79 a month
  • 200GB – £2.49 a month
  • 2TB – £6.99 a month


  • Built into the Apple Eco-System
  • Backup iPhone & iPad
  • Inexpensive Plans
  • Family Sharing
  • Free 5GB with no cost


  • No business plans
  • Lacks in tools to manage your iCloud drive
  • Maximum of 2TB
  • Can’t view access or change history
  • Mainly suited to Apple devices only

Google Drive

Google drive is more for the Android and Windows user than Apple, but it certainly comes with some handy features. You can use it completely free with 15GB of storage and unlimited space for all of your Google documents and sheets. You can share with others and work with together live. The Apple Mac access isn’t great, but the iPhone experience for storing photos is simple and easy to use.


  • 100GB – £15.99 a year
  • 200GB – £24.99 a year
  • 2TB – £7.99 a month
  • 10TB – £79.99 a month
  • 20TB – £159.99 a month
  • 30TB – £239.99 a month


  • Cheaper entry-level options
  • Massive choice of storage and sizes
  • Unlimited google document and sheet storage
  • Business plans available


  • Not best suited for Apple devices especially Macs
  • Slightly more expensive on the larger storage


OneDrive is Microsoft’s offering, and they offer a few limited plans, and if you want something more substantial, you need to purchase the office apps with it. Now having the apps as well could be a pro or a con depending on if you want them or not and it’s a great deal if you do! The built-in functionality and the business admin controls are great, and OneDrive works across most devices.


  • 100GB – £1.99 a month
  • 1TB – £5.99 a month (with Office)
  • 1TB (5 User Family Plan / 1TB each) – £7.99 a month (with Office)


  • Comes with apps on the larger plans
  • Plenty of tools
  • Works well across all devices


  • Maximum 1TB as standard. Can only be increased to 2TB on the plans, including Apps
  • Maximum of 100GB without the Apps


DropBox is the most feature-rich of the cloud storage options here and is ideal for businesses. With this in mind, it is the most expensive of all of the options.


  • 2TB – £9.99 a month (Personal)
  • 3TB – £19.99 a month (Personal)
  • 3TB – £12 a month (Business / Per User)
  • Unlimited – £18 a month (Business / Per User)


  • Advanced tools for business
  • Advanced security
  • Unlimited space available


  • Most expensive
  • Most tools won’t be needed for normal users

We hope we’ve been able to provide some clarity for anyone looking to back up their whole Mac or just put some files away on the cloud for safekeeping. If you have any questions on how you can backup your refurbished Mac from us with any of these services, then please feel free to get in touch with our team.