Hardware for Catalina clones

I just upgraded from Mojave to Catalina. What hardware de I need to make a bootable clone?
Is it correct that 5400 rpm hard disks cannot be used because they cannot be formatted to AP FS?

APFS makes no requirements on disk RPM, but it works best with SSDs. It will work with HDDs too, but performance will not be great, especially on slow drives.

You can get a 1TB SSD for $78.

Interesting. But what cable is required to connect to my USBC Mac?

This case comes with the right cable. It’s $15.29 plus tax.


I’m sorry, @Simon. I’m confused. I understand that instead of using a 5400 rpm drive for my clone you recommend a 1 TB SSD. I ask if the correct USBC cables come with it and you recommend an enclosure. Are you recommending putting the SSD into the new enclosure to be able to connect to the USBC port of my Macbook Pro?
$78 + $15.29?
Thank you

Yes. These SSDs are for internal use so you usually put them in an appropriate case (or disk dock). There are solutions where you let the SSD just dangle off a cable. Perfectly fine for certain types of use, but if you plan on using this thing longer term, a case is likely the better choice. It’s hardly more expensive. That said, if you prefer here is “just the cable”:

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FWIW, I keep one of these in my toolbox so I can quickly access a drive without installing it in an enclosure.

FIDECO SATA/IDE to USB 3.0 Adapter, Hard Drive Adapter Cable …

It’s a little more expensive, but it supports PATA (both 3.5" and 2.5") as well as SATA devices. It also includes a power supply and cable for those drives that can’t be bus-powered.

Now if I could only find one with a SCSI interface, that would be perfect. Right now, I need to power up one of my old Macs if I need to access a SCSI device.

I’ve been making bootable clones with SuperDuper for years, always on an external HD. Since my 2020 MBAir, which came with Catalina, I make those clones on a SanDisk Extreme Portable, USB connected to my Mac, and it works fine - boots reliably and fast, much faster than the HDs used to. It’s partitioned so my wife, who’s still on Mojave, backs up on that, too. Friends who’ve followed my advice have the same experience. I prefer this SanDisk because I like to have a bootable clone with me when I travel, and this small SSD is perfect for the road.

I too have been making bootable backups for years.

Here is my conclusion of this matter
With Carbon Copy Cloner I was able to change my external disk to AP FS and to clone to it.
I the tried to boot from it. When I pressed option at start up, it was an option and I chose it. It started to boot, slowly, and it went so far that the progress bar was gone and only my cursor on an almost black scree was visible. It stayed there. I finally force quit it after 26 minutes
I’m off to get an external SSD

Good call. :slight_smile:

I’m using an M1 Macbook Pro with Big Sur 11.1 and its no longer possible to format a drive using HFS+ Encrypted. Time Machine automatically formatted my 5400RPM 2.5" HD RAID as APFS and on my Time Capsule it automatically formatted the image on the HD as APFS. Everything seems to work well. I have to wonder if Apple tweaked APFS for HD, because they have know that people are still using HD.

Edit: I meant HFS+ Encrypted.

At all? I can understand not supporting HFS for boot volumes and time machine, but if you can’t format them at all, it is going to create real problems if you need for format removable media (e.g. a flash drive) for data exchange with older Macs.

Sorry, I meant that you cannot format “HFS+ Encrypted”. At least not from Disk Utility using an M1 Mac. I’m not sure if there is another way to do it from the Finder or the Terminal.