Despite macOS being a stable operating system, a solid backup strategy is a necessity for every user. Apple’s built-in Time Machine app makes backing up your important files and folders a set-and-forget exercise, but if you need to migrate an exact copy of your macOS installation to another machine, or your main disk has been wiped or become corrupted, you’ll be thankful that you made a regular clone or disk image of your computer.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing some of the best cloning software for Mac that will help you to save bit-perfect copies of your precious data, giving you peace of mind and minimal downtime.
How to Choose the Best Cloning Software for Mac?
So what should you look out for when choosing cloning software for macOS?
- 🤗 Ease of use: A couple of the apps on our list are angled squarely at power users. If you’re likely to feel daunted by dozens of settings or a complex interface, look for a beginner-friendly app.
- 🚀 Performance: Disk cloning can be a tedious process. Check that your software of choice has decent copying speeds. It’s also a good idea to check how resource-intensive an app might be while it runs in the background.
- ⚙️ OS Support: With the new Apple Silicone machines and the arrival of macOS Monterey, the Apple platform is going through a fairly radical overhaul. Make sure your app of choice is supported on newer computers and that older versions are still receiving updates from the developers.
- 💲 Price: A couple of the apps on our list are entirely free, whereas others only offer a free trial. Think carefully about whether you’ll need to splash out on extra features that you may never use.
- ☁️ Cloud backups: Some cloning apps offer an integrated cloud backup service, storing your files on a secure remote server.
- 🔒 Security: You may want to make encrypted clones of your drives for added protection or store your backups on a third-party cloud service, like Dropbox or Google Drive. Remote backups can often be safer than keeping your files at home, but you’ll need to check the developer’s security credentials first.
- Very feature-packed for power users.
- Completely free Mac cloning software.
- Restore a single image to multiple devices.
- Command-line only interface.
- Limited support.
- Open source and completely free
Clonezilla might not ultimately be the best cloning software for Mac, but it’s unlike any other app on this list, and a fantastic choice for power users.
Although it’s available as free Mac cloning software, this app was originally an open-source Linux-based program with no graphical interface at all. That means if you aren’t comfortable typing commands into the terminal, this app probably isn’t for you.
However, if you’re prepared to give it a try, Clonezilla is a potent backup and restoration tool with a mind-boggling array of features and options.
Single disk images can be restored to several devices at once, and the server version even supports remote mass cloning via BitTorrent.
Clonezilla has more features and functionality than any other Mac clone software on this list; however, a steep learning curve and command-line interface mean we can only recommend it to power users looking for granular control over their clones.
- User friendly.
- Handy incremental backups.
- The best features require a paid upgrade.
- Lacks fine control over backups.
- $27.95 to unlock extra features.
SuperDuper is one of the most popular cloning apps for macOS. Aside from the regular features like making bootable clones of your hard drive, SuperDuper also features a Smart Updates setting. If you enable this option, SuperDuper will automatically add updates to a cloned image as it changes, meaning that you won’t ever need to set reminders to clone your backups.
As well as allowing you to make clones of Time Machine backups for extra safety, SuperDuper enables you to view, clone and restore the automatic snapshots made by your operating system, so that you’ll easily be able to restore your machine if an update causes a system failure.
SuperDuper isn’t entirely the best cloning software for Mac on this list — but it does come very close. However, if you’re looking for free cloning software for Mac with no trial period to worry about, then this app is an excellent choice.
- Very beginner-friendly.
- Wide range of settings and features.
- Wide range of support options, including live chat.
- Free version is very limited.
- Backup speed could be faster.
- $29.95 to unlock extra features.
EaseUS Todo Backup has been around in the Windows world for some time and is now available for Mac users. EaseUS Todo Backup has all of the features you’d expect from a cloning tool, as well as advanced scheduling and backup compression to save precious disk space.
If you’re looking for Mac clone software that supports off-site backups, EaseUS Todo Backup allows you to save cloned images to network drives, as well as OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox.
If we had to level criticism at the app, we did see some fairly slow copy speeds, and although this is technically free Mac cloning software, many of the most useful options are only unlocked in the paid version. Other than that, EaseUS Todo Backup is a solid and well-polished beginner-friendly app.
- Huge array of settings and options available.
- Able to backup to Amazon S3 and Google Cloud.
- Backups discard temporary and unnecessary files.
- No free version, just a 15-day trial.
- Menus could be daunting for beginners.
- No standalone free version.
- 15-day free trial, then $49.95.
ChronoSync combines the intuitive menus and easy operation of SuperDuper with the granular cloning options and power of Clonezilla, making it our pick for the best cloning software for Mac overall.
ChronoSync offers manual and scheduled backups to a whole host of destinations, including network-attached storage, as well as professional off-site backups with Google Cloud and Amazon S3. SFTP is supported too, and you can even send your backups to iPhones or iPads should you feel the need (Though you’ll need the separate InterConneX app to do so).
The backups made by ChronoSync are updated when any metadata changes, as well as the files themselves. Cached data and unnecessary files are automatically discarded during cloning, and all files are first copied to an intermediate location before being checked for errors and corruption.
Overall, Chronosync gives off a genuine air of professionalism, albeit at the expense of a slightly cluttered and tightly packed interface. Out of all the apps on this list, Chronosync is probably the best choice overall due to its combination of usability and features. With that being said, raw beginners might prefer something more simple.
- Several useful features not found elsewhere.
- Great looking interface for all ability levels.
- Tips can become irritating.
- No free version.
- No standalone free version.
- 30-day free trial, then $39.99.
As the name suggests, Carbon Copy Cloner used to be a simple tool for creating bootable copies of a Mac’s main drive. Over time, the feature set of this app has expanded, and it now rivals the best cloning software for Mac available today.
As well as being able to back up a whole disk or a set of files and folders manually or on a schedule, Carbon Copy Cloner can also be set to run when a “trigger event” is detected. A trigger event might be when you decide to plug in an external drive or run an automated script.
In addition to trigger events, Carbon Copy Cloner can also work on tasks, such as backing up a specific document folder or a set of video files, for example.
Carbon Copy Cloner has a well-thought-out interface that beginners and pros alike will love, plus a Cloning Coach that can spot potential issues with your backup routine. Overall, this is probably the best cloning software for Mac for most users, offering a great mix of usability and features.
- Cloud backups offered by the same company.
- Comes with lots of other bundled tools.
- Doesn’t backup Bootcamp partitions.
- Writes images in a proprietary format.
- $34.99 for a single computer, renewed yearly.
- $62.99 for a single computer, renewed yearly, with 500GB of cloud storage.
- $87.49 for a single computer, renewed yearly, with 1TB of cloud storage.
Acronis isn’t as well known when it comes to the best cloning software for Mac, historically being a Windows-only developer. Slowly though, Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office (CPHO for short) is gaining in popularity as a backup and cloning application for macOS.
Acronis CPHO can backup to both local and network disks and a dedicated Cloud server owned by the same company. If you have a NAS drive that doesn’t work with Time Machine, Acronis CPHO might be one of the better choices on this list.
Unlike other apps on this list, Acronis CPHO is sold and marketed as a suite of applications, featuring malware scanners, file syncing and full backups of your Microsoft 365 account. These features aren’t particularly exciting, but they could be a deal-breaker if you also run Windows machines and need to integrate them with your Mac.
There are a couple of downsides to an otherwise excellent app: Acronis CPHO doesn’t support Boot Camp installation backups or allow you to specify different drive partitions. In addition, the images created by the app are only readable by the Acronis software, keeping you locked into the app for as long as you need to access the backups.
If you can live with those issues, then Acronis CPHO is a decent cloning and backup app, featuring an easy-to-use interface, security settings that prevent backups happening on unsafe networks, as well as a suite of genuinely useful secondary tools to keep your data safe.
- Very easy to use, with a set and forget interface.
- Unlimited cloud storage for a single computer.
- Can be slow on the first backup.
- Doesn’t offer true cloning of a whole disk.
- $7 per month, paid monthly.
- $70 per year, paid annually.
- $130 for two years.
Backblaze is a little different from the other Mac clone software on this list. Rather than offering an extensive suite of tools and options, Backblaze’s primary function is to backup and store your data in the cloud.
Backblaze is simple to use, and after downloading the app and selecting a few options, it will automatically begin backing up your files. By default, Backblaze will ignore your apps and system files, only backing up the Documents, Movies, Pictures and Music folders. Although you can alter some of the settings, the app will also ignore disk image files.
If you have a large amount of data to backup, Backblaze will take a very long time to complete its first pass of your drive. However, once that’s complete, any incremental changes to your files will take place quickly and efficiently in the background, before being sent to Backblaze’s servers for secure storage.
About that cloud storage: Incremental versions of your backups are kept for 30 days, and you can also save data from attached USB sticks and external drives.
Data is encrypted as standard before it arrives at the Backblaze HQ, and you can add a passcode and two-factor authentication if you feel the need for extra protection. If you need to get a copy of your data to restore lost or deleted files, you have a couple of options: You can either use the standard web interface to download your data, or have your files shipped via post on a USB stick or hard drive — depending on your location.
Overall, Backblaze doesn’t provide a comprehensive enough feature set to make it the best cloning software for Mac, but it does trump rival software when it comes to simplicity, offering an easy-to-use off-site backup service for a modest outlay.
How Do You Clone a Mac?
Cloning a Mac is a relatively straightforward process these days, and you can do it using the built-in Disk Utility app that comes pre-installed on every macOS computer:
- Select the drive that will become a clone from the list in the left column.
- Click the light gray Restore tab on the top menu.
- Choose the drive that you’d like to clone from the drop-down menu.
- Click the Restore button.
You may have noticed a button labeled “Image” in the Restore window. As the name suggests, a disk image is an exact replica of a hard disk or SSD, saved as a single file.
Disk images are snapshots of a drive, so once you have one saved, you can restore it to multiple computers, creating identical copies of a single machine, or restoring your Mac to a previous state if a drive was broken or accidentally wiped.
So if the macOS Disk Utility is able to create disk images and clones of your drives, then why would you need a dedicated cloning app?
The best cloning software for Mac is far more intuitive to use than the built-in Disk Utility, and most programs give greater control over your backups, as well as a more comprehensive feature set.
So there we have it — the best cloning software for Mac in 2021. From a super-technical command-line only app, to a simple cloud-based offering that’s great for beginners, we’ve hopefully given you a decent selection of Mac clone software to ensure your precious files are safely stored for any eventuality.
Once you’re done, you should be able to use your cloned drive in a completely different Mac (so long as the specification of that machine is compatible with the operating system).
Once you have created a disk image using a cloning app, you can restore that image using the built-in macOS Disk Utility, choose the disk you’d like to restore, and then click the Restore button. In the Restore pop-up menu, click the Image button, then navigate to the image created by your cloning app.