Mountain Lion Updates Time Machine With Better Multi-Disk Backup Support

Mountain Lion Updates Time Machine With Better Multi-Disk Backup Support

Time Machine, Apple’s amazingly simple backup solution, debuted in Mac OS X 10 Leopard and changed the way a lot of us kept our Macs backed up. No longer were we tied to complex software like Retrospect, or easily forgotten manual backup systems. Time Machine made backing up our Macs easy and automatic. Even more importantly, it just worked.

Flash forward to today’s release of Mountain Lion, and Apple has quietly added a feature many of us have been wishing for, whether we knew it or not – multi-disk backups. One of the best practices in data backup plans is to create more than one backup, and then take one of them off site (if at a business, say) for safekeeping. At home, having more than one cheap, capacious hard drive to backup to is added peace of mind, considering how often those cheap, capacious drives can fail.

While Time Machine has supported multiple disks in the past, you still had to manually point the backup software to each target disk manually, something that I’m betting most of us skipped. Today’s Mountain Lion release gives Time Machine the ability to manage this process automatically. Meaning, of course, that it just works.

It’s a simple matter of adding more than one target disk into the Time Machine System Preferences pane, and Mountain Lion will automatically rotate the backup disk targets, using them in concert. When you remove one drive to take home, say, or lock in a fire proof safe, Time Machine will figure this out and just use the disk still connected. When you add the first one back onto your USB chain, Time Machine will figure that out, too, and start rotating again.

It’s a fantastic new feature of an operating system that just keeps getting better and better, not only with leaps and bounds, but with small, incremental, important steps like this one.

Related
  • MacAdvisor

    This really doesn’t solve the main problem of Time Machine back up, that is the creation of a good off-site backup. While this does finally make one reasonably feasible, it isn’t a system anyone is really going to use. Yes, people could have two or three (or more) hard drives and then switch them out in order and on a frequent schedule, moving one or more disks off-site. Yeah, that is going to happen. The whole entire point of Time Machine was it just did its thing. The user could be my late mother and Time Machine would still work.

    Apple needs to link Time Machine to the cloud and allow us to send our back up automatically and without any intervention once set up off site. That is the real solution we’ve been waiting for.

  • TheKnightWhoSaysNi

    Excellent feature. I am currently using Carbon Copy Cloner for my swappable backup disks.
    Now I won’t have to.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , , |