Whether or not Time Machine regularly backs up your Mac, creating a full duplicate (clone or mirror) of its data is a good practice before installing macOS updates. For a one-time clone or frequent backups, use Carbon Copy Cloner 6 (£29.90, bombich.com). Previous versions work with Mojave and older.
Catalina and Big Sur alter the clone restoration process. It’s preferable to install macOS first, then migrate from the copy, and that’s the only method for M1 Macs. That eliminates the need to clone the System volume, but CCC may do so if desired.
CCC offers several possibilities. We teach you how to exclude things that should be copied individually and take snapshots for file recovery. Test your clone by restoring test items.
How to properly clone your Mac
1 Set the source level
Select Tasks in the sidebar and name the new, empty backup job. To use your Mac’s starting disk as the source for your clone, click the Source button and choose Macintosh HD.
2 Set the goal
Check that the destination volume has enough space to store the utilized space from the source. Then pick the disk with enough free space to accommodate the clone.
(3) Repeat or not
If you wish this cloning to be repeated automatically, click Automation. For backups or remounting intermittently connected MacBooks, a daily clone is ideal.
4 Plan the schedule
Set the run time for when your Mac isn’t in use if you leave it running overnight. If it’s going to sleep, you may have the backup job wake it up or not. A weekend is optional.
5 Set exclusions
Click Task Plan at the bottom of the main window to exclude things from the clone. Keep separate copies of large files like Virtual Machines that change often.
Option 6: Advanced
Advanced users may execute scripts before and after copying using CCC. You may now alter the priority of its copying jobs while using your Mac.
7 Do a dry run
Before starting the initial clone, verify that copying works as expected. CCC will perform a dry run without copying any files and predict the precise size. Corrections now.
8 Prepare source snapshots
Take frequent pictures. In the sidebar, choose Macintosh HD – Data or simply Data. Turn on CCC to take a picture of each volume copy.
9 Snapshot resa
For most users, CCC’s default snapshot preservation strategy is appropriate. Customize the policy, but keep an eye on the space utilized.
10 clone it
After that, right-click the task in the sidebar and choose Run Now to create the first clone. The CCC then displays the clone’s progress graphically and estimates its completion time.
Observe tasks 11
After cloning, pick the completed job and click the Task Trends button to view a summary of activities. To repeat the process, click the Start button on the main window.
12 System clone
To create a complete bootable backup of your System disk, click on the Destination icon and choose the Legacy Bootable Backup Assistant option.
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To restore files by copying them
macOS 10.15 or later, external storage, Carbon Copy Cloner 6