Carbon Copy Cloner is marketed as the virtual undo button for your Mac. If your hard drive fails or your Mac won't boot up, this program undoes those errors with data it copies to a second device. In our tests, the program proved to be easy to use and fast, though its restore speed was below average. Still, it deserves a spot near the top of our review of Mac data backup software.
In our comparison of Mac backup apps, we tested each software's backup and restore features using the same data on the same Mac. We ran multiple sets to account for variables in performance and created averages we could use as a basis to assign grades. We also evaluated how easy each program is to use by counting the number of steps in the backup and restore processes, noting the number of options in each step, and assessing how well the interface guides the user. The best Mac backup software caters to novices but doesn’t compromise performance to do so.
Carbon Copy Cloner’s backup process received a B- for ease of use, which means it has some learning curves for novices but nothing terribly significant. We counted just four steps, but the program doesn't really use the word "backup" in its interface. The app's features and tasks focus instead on terms like "copying" and "cloning," which can be confusing for novices. In addition, the steps have a lot of options that can lead to user error.
The restore process was a little easier to navigate, receiving a B grade. Restoring files is pretty much the same backing them up – you just copy data from your external drive to your Mac instead of the other way around. Again, the term "restore" is never used, which can cause some confusion.
The backup speed was excellent, receiving a B+ for its average rate of 1.65GB per minute. This was actually the second-fastest backup speed in our tests. The only reason it didn't receive a higher grade is the fastest program outpaced it significantly at 2.33GB per minute.
The program's restore speed didn't fare as well – its speed of 1.12GB per minute only earned it a C-. This is almost 2.5 times slower than the fastest recorded restore speed in our tests. Still, restore speed isn’t nearly as important as backup speed.
Carbon Copy Cloner can't compress data, which isn’t terribly surprising. Most Mac backup apps don't have this feature, unlike similar apps for PCs. Compression saves storage space on your external drive by making data smaller. However, as the name suggests, Carbon Copy Cloner simply makes copies of your data.
While this Mac backup software is largely a glorified copy-and-paste app, it does have a handful of important advanced features. You can create bootable backups and clone your hard drive, which are critical when you want to recover from disastrous data loss. It also has a Smart Update feature that acts as an incremental backup – it only copies the changes you’ve made to your files. In addition, you can set it to run on a schedule. However, it doesn’t encrypt data or integrate with cloud storage.
Carbon Copy Cloner's imaging capabilities make it a valuable data backup tool. It is easy to both backup and restore data with this software, and it has a fast backup speed. Even though it can’t encrypt, compress data or integrate with the cloud, it has a lot of advanced features to help you protect your Mac.