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Top 5 alternatives to: Time Machine

Want to know about the best programs to back up your Mac? Check out our guide to the top 5 alternatives to Apple's built-in backup utility, Time Machine.

BackBlaze - You can leave it on the back-burner

Apple's Time Capsule
Apple's Time Capsule - It's not cheap, but do the cheaper options pay off?

Data loss is every Mac owner’s worst nightmare, and with Apple’s very own built-in backup utility, Time Machine, you really don’t have an excuse. But what about making copies of your entire hard drive, or backing up to the cloud? We’ve got it covered in our guide to the top 5 alternatives to Time Machine.

1. Carbon Copy Cloner (Free, bombich.com)
As well as offering Time Machine’s system of incremental backups (only backing up the changes that have been made since the last backup, thus saving space on your precious backup drive), Carbon Copy Cloner offers, as the name suggests, the opportunity to fully clone your hard drive. As well as being a great option for a less frequent off-site backup option, a full clone of your hard drive is great for the times when you want to upgrade machines or components, or when you don’t have your original Mac OS X install discs. Much like its Apple-made counterpart, CCC offers many of the standard backup features such as an easy-to-use interface and the ability to schedule automatic backups. One of the most interesting features, however, is the ability to backup to another Mac on your network or over the internet. Perfect for the old G5 that you just can’t bear to throw away.

SuperDuper! - Living up to its name
SuperDuper! - Living up to its name

2. SuperDuper! (Free, www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper)
Perfect for the non-believers when it comes to upgrading, SuperDuper offers a backup solution for those of you who are on Tiger, long before Time Machine was even a glint in Steve Jobs’ eye. It’s incredibly simple to use and doesn’t come close to suffering from the feature-bloat of some of the backup options on the market. SuperDuper! backs up your entire hard drive, that’s it. Choose the drive to back up, choose the drive to back up to, then hit ‘Copy now’ and that’s it! There’s some advanced options such as turning your back up into a disk image, and for $27.95 you can purchase some extra features like backup scheduling, but for a really simple solution, SuperDuper! certainly lives up to its name.

3. Get Backup Lite (Free, Mac App Store)
There’s few backup apps featured in the Mac App Store, so naturally Get Backup was going to get a mention here. The Lite version we’re looking at is free but there are paid versions too. Get Backup Lite allows you to create backup projects and customise them to suit your needs. Combine that with scheduling and you can have the program back up your files and photos every day, but your apps and system just once or twice a week, a great solution if you’re not constantly overhauling your mac. Another feature that caught our eye was the ability to break large backups into volumes for storing on DVDs or the dozens of free cloud storage accounts that you seem to have signed up to in the last year. It’s certainly a useful addition that sets this program out from the rest.

BackBlaze - You can leave it on the back-burner
Backblaze - You can leave it on the back-burner

4. Backblaze (From £4/month, www.backblaze.com)
Describing yourself as the easiest online backup service is always a risky move in the times where users are encouraged to provide more and more feedback to the developers of apps that they use. Fortunately for Backblaze, they appear to have lived up to their name. By default Backblaze backs up your entire system constantly, making sure that every single file change is saved to its datacentres, but there are options for scheduled backups and fully-controlled backups if you want. If the worst were to happen, you can download every single files that’s been backed up straight back onto your Mac, or for a nominal fee, have them sent to you on a DVD or USB drive. Convenient right?

5. Mozy (£4.99/month, www.mozy.co.uk)
Weighing in at almost a pound heavier on the wallet than Backblaze, Mozy certainly has a lot to live up to compared to its £4 a month counterpart, but for those of you who just want to back up your most important documents, photos, movies and music, Mozy has it covered. It’s backup for the rest of us in three easy steps. Once you’ve signed up, install Mozy’s software to your Mac, choose the files you want to back up, then let it do it’s thing. It’s secure, it stores versions of your files for up to 30 days, it backs up files every time they update, it’s all-round great when it comes to backing up your most important stuff.

Have we missed a vital back up option off of our top 5? Then get in touch and give us a digital wrist-slapping! We’re @iCreateMagazine on Twitter, you know what to do.

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