It’s a long podcast and gets somewhat technical. But I still highly recommend this – you don’t need to understand the all the details. The takeaway is to be **veeeery** careful with financial, personal and cryptocurrency logins (usernames and passwords). If Two-Factor Authentication is possible, consider not using SMS/Text as your second factor. And NEVER use the same password for more than one account. Say it out loud: NEVER USE THE SAME PASSWORD!
There is a new feature in Dropbox which allows you to back up the contents of an external hard drive, SSD, flash drive, etc. You may see a message when you connect an external drive, asking if you want to back it up.
This can be a nice way to back up a flash drive or external data drive, but Dropbox may ask if you want to backup your Carbon Copy Cloner and/or Time Machine external backup drive(s). Unless there is a compelling reason to make a redundant backup of your backup drive(s) to Dropbox, I recommend you click the “Don’t ask me again” box and click the “Not now” button:
If you do allow Dropbox to backup your external backup drive(s), note that those drives can contain a LOT of data and will possibly fill the capacity of your Dropbox account. In addition, the upload process will likely take a long time, making your internet connection perform more slowly during the upload. I don’t recommend this.
If you don’t want to see requests from Dropbox to backup external drives when you connect them in the future, you can disable this feature in Dropbox:
1. Click the Dropbox icon in your menu bar
2. Click the circular icon at the upper right.
3. Choose “Preferences…”
4. Click the “Backups” icon at the top
5. UN-check “Show setup notifications when new external drives are plugged in.”:
Now when a new external drive, flash drive, etc. is connected, Dropbox won’t pester you about backing it up.
If you’ve already allowed Dropbox to backup your external backup drive(s), you will see an icon in your Dropbox with the name(s) of the external drives. For example, note the “Kirk’s Flash Drive” icon in my Dropbox below. You can safely delete these items from your Dropbox account to save space:
For those who have bought a new computer or have updated their machine to Apple’s Catalina, Big Sur or Monterey operating systems, here are some things to know about the new(ish) APFS disk format, bootable backups and the Carbon Copy Cloner backup program…
Q: Should I continue to use Carbon Copy Cloner to make backups of my data?
A: Absolutely. A backup to an external drive is the best way to recover from a sick drive mechanism, failed operating system update or lost/stolen computer.
Q: Should I make my Carbon Copy Cloner backups “bootable”?
A: This is a tricky question to answer. Prior to Catalina, the answer was “absolutely”. Today things are a bit more complicated… Start with this article by Carbon Copy Cloner’s programmer Mike Bombich:
As noted in this article, the answer depends on several factors, including which Mac hardware you have (Intel processor vs. Apple “M1” processor), and if you want to preserve previous “Snapshots” (points in time from which you can restore data).
If you’re running an Apple silicon “M1” Mac, I recommend using Carbon Copy Cloner’s “Standard” data-only backup strategy. For Intel-intel based Macs, I still recommend the “Legacy Bootable Backup”.
Q: What do I need to know about backups in Catalin, Big Sur or Monterey?
A: Disks used to boot a Mac are now required to be formatted in Apple’s newer file system (APFS). If you have an older backup drive which was previously set up for an earlier operating system (“Mac OS Extended, Journaled”, a.k.a “HFS +”, it is will likely need to be erased and reformatted as APFS. Note: This will permanently destroy all previous backup data on the drive.
Q: Can I continue to use my old external spinning hard drive for Carbon Copy Cloner bootable backups of Catalina, Big Sur or Monterey?
A: I don’t recommend this. The performance of a spinning hard drive formatted as APFS is terrible. In an emergency it may take 8-10 minutes to boot from a spinning APFS drive (vs. <60 seconds to boot from a backup made to a solid state drive (SSD). SSDs are becoming much more affordable per Gigabyte, are exponentially faster than spinning hard drives, and are more resilient to bumps and bruises due to them having no motor or moving parts to wear out.
As of this writing (October, 2021), a name-brand 1TB SSD can be had for around $155 and a 2TB model for ~$300.
Q: Should I upgrade to Carbon Copy Cloner 6?
A: If you’re running Mac OS Catalina, Big Sur, Monterey or later I recommend updating to Carbon Copy Cloner 6. CCC6 is significantly faster and the upgrade price is only $20. Here’s a list of some of the new features:
Note: Carbon Copy Cloner 6’s user interface is a bit different and may take some getting used to. If you’re running a version of Mac OS before Catalina, Carbon Copy Cloner 5 still works fine.
Q: Should I run both Carbon Copy Cloner and Time Machine backups?
A: Yes. Keeping multiple backups is always a good idea and Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner will work to save your data in different ways, depending on the crisis/scenario.
Q: Can I keep using my old spinning external drive for Time Machine backups?
A: Yes. As long as you have enough ports on your computer to connect both drives (or are comfortable rotating external drives on a regular basis), your old Time Machine disk can still be used. If your old spinning drive was previously partitioned for both Carbon Copy Cloner and Time Machine, the Carbon Copy Cloner volume can usually be deleted, making more room available for future Time Machine backups.
Q: Should I exclude my external backup drive from Spotlight indexing?
A: Yes! This prevents a scenario where you search for a file and inadvertently open the copy on the backup drive. If you then edit and save your changes, those changes will NOT reside in the original file on your internal storage. This can be confusing later when you open the original file and your edits are not there!
Q: The icon for my external backup device disappeared from the Desktop during the first run of a Legacy Bootable Backup run. What’s up with that?
A: This is a normal, (but annoying) behavior of Apple’s ASR tool which Carbon Copy Cloner uses to create a bootable clone. The destination disk’s icon will appear again when the copy is finished.
There are plenty of options and questions involved in backing up your Mac. Feel free to contact me via email or the “Contact” section on the right of this page for technical translation and/or advice on or help with any of the above.
Kirk van Moon