Make a duplicate of your Mac’s hard drive

You should create a full duplicate (a clone or a mirror) of your Mac’s data before installing macOS updates or upgrades, regardless of whether Time Machine keeps regular backups of your computer. It is possible to create a one-time clone or regular backups in addition to or instead of Time Machine using Carbon Copy Cloner 6 (£29.90, Previous versions of the software are compatible with Mac OS X Mojave and before.

Catalina and Big Sur have an impact on how you recover from a clone in different ways. To avoid having to clone back from the copy to your internal storage, it’s preferable to install macOS first and then migrate from the copy; unfortunately, this is the only option for M1 Macs. Because of this, you won’t have to clone the System disk, which will save you some space, but CCC can still do this function for you.

CCC offers a plethora of choices. Using them to their full potential, such as omitting things that should be duplicated individually and creating snapshots for fast file recovery, are shown in this section. Whatever method you choose, make sure your clone is functional by restoring test items.

Exactly how to clone your Mac in the proper manner

1 Increase the volume of the source

Select Tasks from the left-hand sidebar of Carbon Copy Cloner and provide a name to the new, empty backup job that appears. To make your Mac’s starting drive, which is by default called Macintosh HD, the source for your clone, click on the Source icon and pick it from the drop-down menu.

2 Decide on a final location

Make a note of the amount of space that has been used on your source volume, and ensure that the destination volume has enough free space to accommodate this. Then, using the Destination icon, choose a volume that has enough free space to accommodate the clone.

3 Decide whether or not to repeat.

If you wish this cloning to be repeated automatically, choose Automation from the drop-down menu and specify the scheduling basis. Normally, a daily clone is the ideal option for backups or when the disk is remounted for MacBooks that are connected sporadically.

4 Establish the specifics of the schedule.

If your Mac is going to be left running overnight, it’s a good idea to set the run time at a period when it won’t be used. If the system is going to be sleeping, you may have the backup job wake the system up, or you can wait until later to wake the system up. You may also skip weekends if you like.

5 Create a list of things to be excluded.

Choose things you don’t want included in the clone by selecting Task Plan at the bottom of the main window and clicking OK. It is recommended to maintain distinct copies of large files such as Virtual Machines, which change frequently while they are in use.

6 Configure advanced options

CCC provides a plethora of sophisticated features, such as the ability to execute scripts before and after the copying process. Changing the priority of its copying jobs is now possible if you want it to back up while you’re working on your Mac.

Seventh, test it out with a dry run.

Before you start the initial clone, make sure that the copying will give the results you anticipate. When you use the Preview tool, CCC will do a dry run without transferring any real files, and it will predict the exact size of the files. Now is the time to correct any mistakes.

8 Create a set of source snapshots

Consider taking frequent pictures of your surroundings. Select the starting data disk called Macintosh HD – Data or simply Data from the Volumes drop-down menu in the sidebar. Turn on CCC to create a snapshot of the volume for each duplicate of the volume that you have.

9 Retention of snapshots

Because older snapshots may take up a significant amount of disk space, most users should find CCC’s default snapshot retention strategy to be suitable. Select Customize from the drop-down menu to create your own policy if desired, but keep an eye on the amount of space being used.

10 Make a clone of that volume

When you’ve finished configuring everything, right-click the task in the sidebar and choose the Run Now option to create the first clone of it. CCC then displays the progress of the clone in graphical form, as well as an exact estimate of how long it will take to complete it.

11 Examine the tasks’ actions

As soon as the cloning process is complete, go to Task History, pick the completed task, and then click on the Task Trends button to get a summary of the activities. Click on the Start button in the main window if the job is going to repeat on a regular basis.

System clone is an optional feature.

Alternatively, if you want CCC to clone your System disk as well, you need first configure the Destination to create a complete bootable backup by clicking on its icon and choosing the Legacy Bootable Backup Assistant option before proceeding to step 7.


10 minutes are allotted.


To duplicate files in order to be able to recover them


Carbon Copy Cloner 6 requires macOS 10.15 or later, an external storage device with adequate free space, and a computer with internet access.