Best Mac disk usage/cleanup utilities?

Good question. I interpret that you are reviewing the ‘RECOMMENDATIONS’ section of Manage Files. I don’t use them at all so can’t respond to any inquiry about them except they appear to be a constellation or aggregate of preferences that might also be found separately with the individual apps, albeit elsewhere. I only use manage to view my files and delete duplicates. Best, Patrick

Maybe this article will offer some guidance for you on this subject.

Best, Patrick

I have the same concerns. Using “optimise Mac storage” means that local TM backups will only contain the stubs left behind in the machine, not the contents which have been relocated to iCloud.
I think, but would appreciate informed comment, that as long as you have had your TM backup connected “for ever”, then the document will have been on your machine in its full form at least once and will therefore be on your TM backup somewhere.
Otherwise, the only potential solution I have come up with so far is to dedicate an old machine (or a current one for that matter as long as it is always available) with a large enough disk, as a complete copy by unchecking the “optimise Mac storage” check box. Then, a TM attached to that machine will always have complete copies of all documents. I think!!

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Thank you, Patrick and I am grateful for your suggestion but the way I read this article it is a “sync” for the convenience of accessibility of the files, not a backup. If valuable files on my MBA are mistakenly deleted or irreparably damaged, then in the absence of a backup those files are gone or similarly damaged in iCloud too, are they not?

I ran my office on a network of Macs until I retired and downsized to one Mac laptop. A decade later, a lightning strike wiped out my surge protector, my Mac and my attached clone backup. After less aggressive measures failed, some records and photos were recovered with a princely sum paid to a reputable recovery lab recommended by Apple. Others, including important medical records from a defunct source could never be recovered, so naturally I take backup very seriously.

Or maybe I am misunderstanding. How does syncing to iCloud take the place of Time Machine, BackBlaze and a weekly clone with SuperDuper?

Agreed! Exactly!

What I pointed you to was only about Apple’s built in syncing (if one wishes, and I don’t) of Desktop files and folders and Documents files and folders into iCloud so one may access them on all devices attached to the iCloud. Only for those two items: Desktop and Documents. I choose to not do that as that is not granular enough for me as I would only want to sync maybe a file or folder from those locations, not the whole entity. Regarding backup, one is right to choose Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper and point the backup to either a cloud backup service or your own drives. Best, Patrick

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iCloud is not a backup. It simply enables you to access the file from another device. If you make changes to files, those changes will be automatically synced across all devices.

Time Machine is a backup. If you accidentally delete or mistakenly edit a file, you can ‘go back in time’ and recover the version you want. It is incremental, so it is not a ‘fragile’ backup, or in other words, it is NOT a syncronised copy.

Chronosync is a copy/backup. Changes you make are subsequently made to your backup. So mistakes will be carried over and losses may occur. To avoid this you can have multiple backups.

It’s also REALLY important to understand the difference between ‘Backup’ and ‘Archive’. An Archive is ‘set in stone’ and never changes.

Some people will make archives every so often, which guarantees their integrity. Personally, I’ve always made 2x archives of everything, once it was in a finished state. This halves the chances of damage to or failure of the support, e.g. hard drives.

Depending on the size of the files you want to backup/archive, online services may be fine. They’re pretty useless for people working with images/videos etc., because upload times may be in weeks for some. If on the other hand, your files are essentially text documents, then online is good, because the company takes care of keeping multiple copies (to avoid loss through drive damage/failure etc.) it also provides the all important ‘offsite’ backup and you personally only have to manage the file structure.

If your dealing with large data volumes, then the old methods remain. Aside from ‘set in stone’ archives, you may want to archive more every day stuff and a good method for that is to have rotating archives (similar in a way to Time Machine) where you have e.g. 6 SD cards ( = very reliable, resistant to heat/water) and you overwrite the oldest archive every… however many weeks/months/years suits your needs. One advantage is that they are so easy to hide, so burglary is not much of an issue. On top of that, some people might keep identical copies in 2 different places. E.g. for those with a second home, it’s easy, or perhaps at a relatives home, or at work. This covers the all important ‘offsite’ backup.

It sounds like a lot of effort, but it’s not really. Just a habit that can save a LOT of hassle should lightning strike.


As a Mac user since their introduction in 1984, I wholeheartedly agree. As things progressed, over the years I went from backing up on noisy humming Paradise Hard Disks to Bernoulli/s to tape backups to Zip drives to external drives, then DVDs ad infinitum. Perhaps I did not make sufficiently clear that I was making three points:

  1. A single backup system attached to your internal drive is insufficient protection; and automatic redundant backup systems like the three I use: Incremental with attached Time Machine; data up to the cloud with BackBlaze; and weekly complete clone with SuperDuper are necessary to cover all perils; and
  2. Moving files into icloud not only offers no backup protection but actually makes it virtually impossible to maintain a totally automatic tripartite backup system like the one I maintain and thus creates a false sense of security.
  3. Trimming space by deleting “old” files is directly contradictory to the wisdom of the old song from the late sixties that “Don’t it always seem to go…That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” Storage is cheap.