Is Backup on Apple’s Back Burner or Simply Abandoned?


When Leopard was introduced, backing up became an automatic and effortless operation. Set it and forget it. Unfortunately, Time Machine backups are not off-site and don’t protect you against an on-site disaster. When I previously covered some online off-site backup solutions, Apple’s backup utility was not one of them.

Apple Backup is still a nifty way to back up critical files to your MobileMe account, or any hard drive you can mount, and I personally use it every day to back up my most critical files. I have tons of space on my MobileMe account, so I might as well use it. Best of all, it’s a free program with a MobileMe subscription.

However, in the move from .Mac to MobileMe and from Leopard to Snow Leopard, the development of this utility has seemingly stopped. The latest version is 3.1.2, and it was released on Oct. 27, 2007 — over two years ago. The branding of the program still states it does backups to your “.Mac” account and doesn’t mention MobileMe. I find it a complete resource hog while running in the background. Obviously, it’s not optimized for 64-bit processors. Humorously, it still has Quickpick options in the interface to automatically back up Internet Explorer data. Internet Explorer hasn’t been released for the Mac in over half a decade. If that doesn’t convince you Apple Backup needs updating, then I’m not sure what will.

Apple, it’s time to update Backup, and here’s what I want on the feature list.

First, make it fit into the current Apple product line. Change the references to .Mac, and optimize it for Snow Leopard. Additionally, allow me to schedule backups directly from iCal.

Next, give me Quickpicks for programs currently in use by typical Apple users. Remove the backup options for Internet Explorer and add programs such as Firefox and Quickbooks. While you are tweaking the code, make it easy for users to back up their Preferences directory. Sure, it’s not that hard to do it manually, but the average Apple user doesn’t realize how critical preferences are.

If you really want to knock my socks off, include encryption options like you did with the latest iPhones. I hate not having encrypted backups. Speaking of iPhones, how about a Quickpick to allow the automatic off-site backup of our existing iPhone backups?

Apple’s Backup application used to be a great added value for .Mac/MobileMe users and a convenient way for all Mac users to do backups. It has grown very long in the tooth and needs to be made relevant again. Apple, you have your marching orders, so get to work! Readers, don’t forget to add feature request in the comments below.

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