Backing up external drives

Why? Time Machine has no problem backing up external disks. And, of course, you can clone any disk.

Just to make it clear, I do backup to Backblaze also. And I have full iCloud syncing (yes, I know that’s not considered “backup”). And I also have all my photos in Google Photos.

Anyway, for CCC that’s just what it says - they only recommend backing up the internal SSD.

For Time Machine, I don’t know for sure… just what I heard.

(pause to check)

Hmm… Maybe it will work. Maybe it’s just excluded by default.

Anyway, I’ll be getting my new MBP in 8-10 business days. So then my issue will be the best way of bringing everything home from outside to my new internal 2 TB drive. And then I’ll just start Time Machine and CCC over again.

Are you sure they say that? I have a task that backs up my external media drive to a partition on my backup drive. As part of the Postflight (which is customized via the advance settings)for my boot SSD backup, I have the media drive backup run immediately after the boot SSD backup finishes.

CCC is more than happy to back up externals…it’s the boot volume on the internal APFS volume they recommend not backing up…at least that’s what I remember from my last look at that.

More accurately, they have to jump through several hoops in order to make a bootable Big Sur backup (no clue about Monterey), and there are other caveats when making a bootable backup for an Apple Silicon Mac.

The upshot of it is that in order to make a bootable backup of a Big Sur system, you need to wipe the destination and perform a full backup of everything. This is because the sealed System volume can only be copied using Apple’s own utility, and that utility can only be used to copy the entire system (System, Data, other volumes) and doesn’t support incremental copies.


If you want a bootable backup, you can make one, but the recommendation is to only do this for the initial backup. After that, when you make subsequent incremental backups, you should only clone the Data volume.

If you want to update the System volume, the recommendation is to boot it and run System Update from there.

But for the long term, they are now recommending against bootable backups because it is very unclear whether Apple will continue supporting the tool that makes them possible, and it is currently not possible (as far as I know) to restore a bootable backup directly to an Apple Silicon Mac.

To restore to an AS Mac, you need to install macOS via the Recovery partition and then restore the Data volume from your backup. Because of this, it is considered easier and just as good to only backup the Data volume and forget the System volume.