Backups: 2019 Update

2019-02-09 4-minute read

A lot has changed in the three years since my last post on backups.

This post is an updated version with all the changes and updates that I have done in three years. Backups are still a very important thing for me, and I’m still pretty extensive with them.


My current setup that needs to be covered by backups is:

  • 2012 Retina MacBook Pro (same computer from 2016)
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch (2017)
  • Synology DS413j Network Attached Storage (NAS)

Whole-Device Backups

For my onsite backups of my laptop I still use SuperDuper!, which I use every week to make a bootable clone of my laptop. I have stopped using TimeMachine because I was having way too many problems with the backups to the NAS.

Offsite backups are now split between Backblaze for my laptop and Backblaze B2 for my NAS. CrashPlan switched to only selling to businesses, but I had switched over even before that. Backblaze (both normal and B2) have been rock-solid for me.

My iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) are still using iCloud Backup. My encrypted backups to iTunes are now only done before iOS updates and switching devices.

A Note on Dropbox

Dropbox is still pretty good, but I have also moved a lot of my data out of Dropbox and into DEVONthink. I have DEVONthink syncing through a mix of personal WebDAV and iCloud.

However: Neither DEVONthink nor Dropbox are backup. Though it can be used for it in a pinch, both are just storage and synchronization systems.

Secondary Backups: Apps and Services

So many changes to apps and services in just three years. The ones I still use from 2016 without any changes are Pinboard (bookmarks), Overcast (podcasts), and Paprika (recipes).

Old Apps, New Details

I still use some of the apps from 2016, both there are updates to how I handle backups for them.

Journaling: Day One

Day One is a lot easier to backup now. From the menu select Export → JSON and download any media necessary. That will backup all of your posts, images, and other content into a single zip file.

Budgeting: YNAB

I have stuck with YNAB because I haven’t been annoyed by it enough to change. I have accepted that my content is on their servers and cope. Every month I do backup my data from YNAB.

Passwords: 1Password

I now use 1Password for Families and I have my entire family on it. I accept that I cannot easily backup my passwords and associated documents, but I have invested heavily in 1Password and the risk I take from using them is (I feel) less than the risk I would have from trying to handle everything myself.

Also, a large part of that is the risk that is mitigated by having an easy-to-use system for all of my family members to use. The aggregated risk mitigation is worth the cost to me many, many times over.

Source Code: GitLab

I still run my personal GitLab instance, but I am in the process of moving a lot of my code to the commercial system. Some of my code still lives in GitHub and I want to move a lot of that to GitLab as well. I do plan on syncing my code from to my local GitLab, but only as a backup.

I no longer run a git server on my NAS - it was not worth the hassle.

Task Management: OmniFocus 3

I switched to Things 3 for awhile, but when OmniFocus 3 (OF3) was released, I returned to it. I have a bunch of tools built to push data into OF3 (via ShortCuts or Drafts), but getting data out is not something I worry about much.

I do however do a backup of my OmniSync Server data every month and that include my OF3 data.

New Apps

And here’s the new stuff.

Email: FastMail

All my email now goes to FastMail and I use MailRoute for spam/virus filtering. just use Apple’s built in mail client (on both macOS and iOS) and backup from the macOS Mail app into DEVONthink.

RSS: FeedBin

I switched over to FeedBin and I do a monthly export of my subscriptions.

Writing: Drafts and SublimeText

All my writing is now started in either Drafts on the iPad or SublimeText on macOS. No matter which app it starts in, all of my writing ends up in DEVONthink.


DEVONthink is a surrogate filesystem for me. I have seven different databases in it currently and every scan, text document, image, note, idea, or record goes in. Its better to say what doesn’t end up in DEVONthink for me: music (either Plex on the NAS or Apple Music), video (Plex on the NAS), ebooks (Calibre), photos (iCloud Photo library/Photos app) and source code (GitLab/GitHub).