The Best Apps to Create Bootable Clone Backups On Mac

author

Peter

updated on 2022-04-25 to Mac Backup & Disk Clone

create bootable clone for Mac

Every Mac user should have a good backup plan in place. Apple's Time Machine, which comes standard with macOS/OS X, makes it simple to save several copies of any file on an external disk or an AirPort Time Capsule. An online backup service like CrashPlan is a fantastic alternative if you want the protection of off-site backups without having to actually move disks around.

While all of these backup options are beneficial, I also advocate keeping a clone (also known as a bootable duplicate) of your starting disk, which is a whole, exact version of your initial disk saved on a USB drive or external hard drive in such a fashion that you can launch your Mac from it if required.

What Time Machine and CrashPlan don't have is rapid recovery, which a clone has. After a disk crash or other serious problem with your starting volume, you can go back to work relatively immediately. Simply connect your clone drive, restart with the Option key pressed, pick the clone drive in Mac OS's Startup Manager, and hit Return. You're fully up and running in a matter of seconds, and you can then repair (or replace) your main starting drive at your leisure. Even while Time Machine backs up every file on your hard disk, restoring all of those data to a fresh drive can take hours (or days), and recovering an entire drive from such an online storage service can take a very long time.

Clone backups

You can use a clone to run third-party programs on your failing disk, which is useful for troubleshooting. (While your Mac's built-in macOS Recovery tools include Disk Utility, you may require a more powerful drive-repair program at times.) Finally, having a clone is critical when upgrading to a new version of macOS since it allows you to simply restore to your prior system if compatibility issues develop (by wiping your upgraded-OS disk and then restoring from the clone).

There are apps for Mac bootable clone backups

Unfortunately, you can't just transfer documents from your starting disk to an external drive in the Finder to create a clone. Every file on your hard disk, even hundreds of hidden files, must be duplicated precisely, with all rights and metadata preserved. Causal links (Unix-based file references that work similarly to Mac aliases) must be properly restored. And, most importantly, the backup drive's System folder (/System) must be "validated," which means documenting its physical address on the disk in a secret HFS/APFS Volume Header section. (Read Mike Bombich's essay What makes a disk bootable?) for additional information. All of this is best accomplished with a cloning-specific tool.

More than a half-dozen third-party backup programs can create bootable copies. (A list may be found in the online annexe of my book Seize Command of Mac Backups.) Cloning a drive with Disk Utility or the disk util command in Terminal is also doable (albeit not very easy).

The majority of these tools and procedures are quite adequate, but three duplicating applications stand out: Magoshare’s $19 AweClone for Mac, Shirt Pocket's $28 SuperDuper and Bombich Software's $40 Carbon Copy Cloner. Each has a lengthy history, specializes in replicating, has a simple and intuitive graphical experience, and offers unique features that make it a good choice for establishing and maintaining usable replicas.

AweClone for Mac - Best tool to create bootable clone for Mac

As one of the most powerful Mac disk cloning applications, AweClone for Mac offers lots of tools to help to make a full backup of Mac startup disk or other storage devices. It can help you Mac users to securely and easily create bootable clone backups on Mac.

AweClone for Mac

  • Create bootable macOS backups.
  • Clone HDD/SSD/USB flash drive/memory card, etc.
  • Create disk image of any type of disk on Mac.
  • Supports for both Intel chip-based Mac and Apple Silicon chip Mac.

Now follow the steps below to clone a bootable clone for Mac:

Step1. Connect an external hard drive to your Mac, the external hard drive can be used as the destination drive to save the bootable clone.

Step 2. Run AweClone for Mac, choose OS Clone mode, then select the external hard drive as the destination drive.

create bootable clone for Mac

Step 3. Click on Clone Now button. Please note that the software will format the destination drive before starting OS clone.

create bootable clone for Mac

Step 4. Click Clone Now again, this tool will securely clone macOS startup disk to the external hard drive and make it be bootable.

create bootable clone for Mac

You can use the clone disk on any Mac as a startup disk and you also can use it to restore data on a crashed Mac computer.

Carbon Copy Cloner & SuperDuper

SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner are almost identical in virtually every way for routine cloning activities, and they share a basic set of functions. You select an origin drive (say, your startup level) from a pop-up menu on the left, a destination drive (your clone-backup quantity) from a pop-up window on the side, and any desired settings from extra pop-up menus or icons in both programs. Each application gives you a simple explanation of what's about to happen before you click a button to start the duplicating process.

Both programs allow you to either wipe the recipient before transferring information from the device, or progressively refresh your clone to represent just those items that have been added, updated, or deleted since the last cloning operation. (The incremental updating option, which Shirt Pocket refers to as Smart Update, is disabled in the free trial version of SuperDuper.) Both allow you to pick individual files, directories, or filename patterns to exclude them from your backup, though their interfaces are distinctly diverse and found Carbon Copy Cloner far simpler to use than SuperDuper for this operation.

Before or after a cloning process, both programs may do specific operations, such as executing commands, expelling the target disk on accomplishment, or telling your Mac to sleep, shut down, or resume. (Such actions may only be defined for scheduled jobs in Carbon Copy Cloner.)

Final verdict

Making a backup of your Mac is important. The three disk cloning applications above can help you securely and easily create a bootable disk clone for your Mac. We highly recommend you to try AweClone for Mac, which is much easier to use and has many outstanding features.