Apple Backup 3

Apple Backup 3

.Mac has its problems these days, but Backup 3 isn’t one of them.


Early announcements of Time Machine left some of us wondering whether Backup 3, Apple’s backup utility for .Mac subscribers, would still serve any purpose. Fortunately, the application continues to hold its own by providing a range of options that the one-trick Time Machine ignores.


Backup’s greatest utility lies in its ability to easily create and manage multiple backup plans for a variety of sources and destinations. No other backup application that we tested managed multiple backup plans with the same brain-dead ease of use. Whereas Time Machine backs up everything to a single drive, Backup can be configured to upload contacts and bookmarks to .Mac, burn an iTunes library to multiple DVDs, and copy your entire Documents folder to a network drive—each on its own schedule.


Like Time Machine, Backup’s incremental backup scheme saves changes to files by date (although without the former’s seamless Finder integration and eye candy). This allows restoration of a file or folder to how it appeared on, say, April 19. You can perform restoration by browsing through the list of dated files within Backup, selecting the one you want, and clicking Restore.


Using a mounted network volume in Backup is identical to using a local drive. You simply select the network volume as your target and let Backup go to work. So long as the network volume is kept mounted, scheduled backups to network disks occur with the same reliability as those to local disks.


The one feature conspicuously missing from Backup is cloning—the ability to make an exact, bootable copy of your Mac’s startup drive. And its usefulness for backing up to network volumes would be greatly improved by the ability to automatically mount targeted volumes before starting a scheduled backup.


The bottom line. Though it lacks the advanced features offered by some utilities, Backup 3 is more configurable than Time Machine and a reliable option for making network backups for .Mac




PRICE: $99.95 per year


Reliable. Easy to create and manage multiple backup plans. Universal binary

Tied to .Mac. Network volumes must be mounted manually prior to backups being made. Backups not bootable.




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You mention scheduled backups, but Backup can also backup manually of course, whenever you want. You can create an automator action that can backup with a keystroke. Handy for those who want to backup whenever it's convenient.

Also, Backup isn't tied exclusively to .mac, just volumes you can mount on your desktop. My web host allows me to mount my hosted web site's ftp volume just like iDisk, and I can backup to it as well. Very handy. Especially when you consider the 1.5TB of space my web hosting plan gives me. It's off-site, and secure. Set up a schedule, and have automator mount the ftp volume prior to backup, and unmount it afterwards.

As for cloning, simply use free utilities such as Carbon Copy Cloner and Super Duper. Of course, for advanced cloning options you'll want the paid versions of these excellent programs. However, everything I need to backup my mac is either built-in or free, which makes me very happy.



can you tell me who your host is? I want 1.5TB of online storage! I can't seem to find a decent amount of online storage for less than $500 a month. How much do you pay?



Super Duper isn't free, $ 25,-- i believe but very well worth it.

How do you put together Automator to mount the disks and Backup ?

how can you use Backup after your subscription to .Mac is finished ?



I do like Backup 3 and find it very easy to use... but

Is it tied up for ever to dotMac ???
Meaning I do have dotmac now but what if I don't renew it, would Backup be still usable and furthermore would I be able to use it for restore ???



In theory it is a great idea. Too bad Backup 3 is not a reliable application when it comes to large backup projects. I have tried several times to back up my iPhoto library across multiple DVDs and it invariably fails on the 2nd or 3rd DVD, wasting valuable media. Using another program, such as Data Backup 3 from Prosoft Engineering I was able to successfully do what Backup could not.

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