The Best Software Options for Making a Bootable Backup for Mac

While Time Machine is fantastic for recovering deleted files with the assumption that your hard drive is ship-shape, what happens in the event of a crash? You’ll have to buy a new drive, reinstall macOS, download purchased programs from the Web, and download your files from the Time Machine backup.

This article will cover some of the best programs available to make bootable backups of your Mac. On a spare drive you just need to use one of these programs to make a backup, and in the event of a crash, use the drive via USB to SATA until you have the time to install it via the SATA connection within your computer. Along with mentioning some of the best programs for this, this article will detail the pros and shortcomings of these programs.

1. Carbon Copy Cloner


Carbon Copy Cloner is free for the first thirty days, with no strings attached. It will have all of the functions as the full-fledged paid program, just for a limited time. That having been said, if you only need to make a backup once – such as for a hard dive swap – look no further. If you plan on having a bootable backup automatically being created every day, you may wish to look at some more options.

In addition to crucial features, Carbon Copy Cloner offers a couple of other things. As the cloning process does take a while, you can continue about your day, and an email notification will be sent when the process is complete. SafetyNet is a feature that will also back up your recently deleted and temporary files on the off chance you need to recover them (space permitting).

2. SuperDuper!


It is Super Duper, and as simplistic as it gets. Connect your target drive, launch SuperDuper! and follow the prompts. Select your main drive, your target drive, and make sure “Backup – All Files” is selected. You can then backup immediately or schedule it. This makes it the optimum program to work side by side with Time Machine. If you delete a file, Time Machine is there to help. If your drive straight up fails, SuperDuper! allows you to keep working off of your backup until you can install a new drive. For college students or busy professionals, this is a no-brainer.

SuperDuper! is free forever, but if you would like scheduled backups and a couple of other features, you will need to pay for the full program. For myself, I save the money and simply remember to start a backup at the start of my work each day.

3. Get Backup


Get Backup‘s free version has the basic functions you will need and just about every feature you were actively looking for. It is a lightweight program, easy to use, aesthetically pleasing to look at, and it makes bootable backups accurately without fail. With the pro version, your bootable backups can even be compressed. Compressing your backups is a good idea to fit more data into less storage space, and in turn you will not necessarily have to purchase an expensive backup drive. Drive prices increase with the higher storage capacity, so this is something to keep in mind.

Grab it from the linked website if you want the entire array of features, though. The App Store version has some restrictions due to Apple’s developer policies.


SuperDuper! is simplistic and perfect for anyone who just needs a stable backup. Carbon Copy Cloner offers the same aesthetic, as well as a few more in-depth features for the power user. Also not to be forgotten is Get Backup, which compresses your boot volume to fit on a smaller drive. All of these programs are good at what they do and are reliable for your backups. Swapping a drive can be stressful, so why not make it as easy as possible?

Corbin Telligman
Corbin Telligman

I'm a junior at UT Dallas, a tech enthusiast, an adreneline junkie, and a coffee fanatic.

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