Cloning Your Mac the Right Way and Why You Should Do So

Are you interested in cloning your Mac, but what to use something not called Time Machine. Check out this solution.

Cloning your Mac is an option you might want to perform regularly. Though the built-in Time Machine tool in macOS gets the job done, it does have some limits and isn’t very flexible. Recently, I found myself looking for an alternative backup solution for my MacBook Pro. Carbon Copy Cloner 6 is so good that I decided to write a guide about using it.

What is Carbon Copy Cloner 6?

Created by Bombich, Carbon Copy Cloner 6 has two purposes. It allows you to create a one-time clone of your complete Mac and perform regular backups. Along the way, you’ll discover various features Bombich says, “you wish Time Machine did (and more!).”

These include:

  • Flexible backup options make it possible to create a backup on your external drive or another Mac, or simply an individual folder or an entire external hard drive.
  • Snapshots make it possible to bring back files you thought were lost forever.
  • The app’s Dashboard tracks the space consumed by snapshots on your disks while also providing one-click access to starting, stopping, and monitoring your tasks alongside details about recent task activity.
  • Scheduled backups mean you can have your data backed up on your time, whether that’s hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly. For a bonus, you can assign scheduled backups to run only on weekdays, weekends, or certain times of the day.
  • Smart Updates means only added, or updated files get backed up.
  • Receive notifications about backup processes through the macOS Notification Center or email, or both. It’s up to you.

Besides these features, I also discovered that Carbon Copy Cloner 6 is fast on both macOS Big Sur and macOS Monterey.

Cloning Your Mac

There are different ways to clone your Mac with Carbon Copy Cloner 6. The following are a combination of tasks you should follow and best practices based on my experience using the software.

With Carbon Copy Cloner 6 installed:

  1. Open the software on your computer.
  2. Click where it says, “Click to select a source.”
  3. Choose your Mac’s startup disk. It’s probably named “Macintosh HD.”

Choose source


  1. Click where it says, “Click to select a destination.”
  2. Choose your external drive.

Choose external backup

From there:

  1. Click on Automation.
  2. In the pull-down menu, select how often you want to backup your computer. Again, there are various options here. For example, if you’re looking to run a regular backup, select Daily or When source or destination is remounted.

schedule backup

Establishing Settings and Restrictions

The next steps are to determine what happens during each backup and whether to exclude files. For the former, you can choose to:

  • Repeat the process on a set schedule. (If you set “Daily,” it’s already set to repeat every day.)
  • Whether to limit the task from only running between certain hours of the day.
  • Run the task immediately after the external drive re-appears.

For the latter, you’ll want to select Task Filter to exclude items from being saved through the backup process. Generally, it’s important to back up everything unless there’s an important reason not to do so.

Schedule and task filter

Once you’re comfortable with your backup and schedule, click Save at the bottom right.

Advanced Tools

Carbon Copy Cloner 6 includes some advanced tools worth considering if you’re the type of person who likes to dig deeper into how software titles work. Otherwise, you’re good to go at this point.

The most important advanced tools I’ve uncovered are:

  1. The Preview: When clicking the Preview button at the top, you can have Carbon Copy Cloner 6 run your backup without actually copying files. Use this to make sure there won’t be any errors when you run the actual backup.
  2. Snapshots: These are designed to bring back files as they were at a moment in time. You should create snapshots often if you’re in the habit of updating files on your computer often. But, snapshots can take up a lot of space on your external drive, so be sure to set a retention schedule.

Worth Considering

Carbon Copy Cloner 6 is free to try for 30 days. Thereafter, it’s $40 or $20 for an upgrade. It’s a terrific tool if you wish to take cloning your Mac to more advanced levels.

For more information, visit the Bombich website.

And if you are looking for other ways to back up your Mac, check out our article about alternative software for Time Machine.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mark

    CCC has been around since before Time Machine (I think) I never really like TM all that much, been using CCC for years. Use an external hard drive and if your Mac crashes, you can boot up immediately from the backup. Love it!

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