MacMost Q&A Forum • View All Forum QuestionsAsk a Question

Should I Change From Time Machine/external Drive To Subscription Backup Site?

iMac 2009, El Capitan. I now have several external drives full of Time Machine backups. I need another one. I now see advertised backup services, e.g. Backblaze and feel I am not savvy enough to know which path is better. My data is usual home stuff – documents, photos, spreadsheets, family history data, home accounts, etc. I am usually not in favour of subscription deals, but prefer one time cost. However if there is a clear winner of this dilemma, then I am open to rethink.
Anne Mowlam

Comments: 3 Responses to “Should I Change From Time Machine/external Drive To Subscription Backup Site?”

    3 years ago

    First, why do you have “several external drives full of Time Machine backups?” You should have one external drive connected to your Mac (or network) and Time Machine set up to back up to that.
    The advantage of Time Machine is that it is fast, since it is a direct connection, or over your local network. Fast not only in backing up, but in finding a version of a file when you need it and in restoring your system in case of a disaster.
    Another advantage is that it gives you multiple versions of files so you can revert to an earlier copy of your work easily. Whether that is useful to you depends on what you do with your Mac and which apps you use.
    The advantage to a remove backup system is that it is in a different location so a disaster like a fire or theft won’t take both your Mac and your backup.
    I use both to get all off the advantages. Hard drives are cheap, so having a USB3 drive connected to my Mac Pro and a USB3 drive connected to my Airport Extreme (for my MacBook) is cheap. And it is very hands-off so I don’t have to worry about it.
    I use CrashPlan for remote backups too, but for many people it isn’t necessary anymore as they store all of their documents in the cloud anyway.

    Anne Mowlam
    3 years ago

    Thank you for the reply Gary. By “several external drives” I do not mean all connected. Only the most recent one is connected. As each one became full, I presumed I had to use a new one, so all but the current one are historic.
    I thought the current one was full but it seems to be “not available”. I will need to check.

    3 years ago

    Anne: No, that’s not how to use Time Machine. First, make sure you are using a drive that is larger than your internal drive. Then, just let that drive fill up. When it does, Time Machine will delete old versions of files, always keeping at least the current version around. It maintains itself. No need to swap out drives.

Comments Closed.