Building Better Backups with CCC 7

Mike Bombich May 9, 2024

There's one aspect of our company that I take a lof of pride in: our engineering team works directly with end users to solve problems and to create backup strategies. We don't have multiple tiers of support and focus groups, no chat bots or AI – we just talk directly with people. With that feedback going directly into product development, we're constantly polishing every aspect of CCC so that it works exactly the way it feels like it should. We want your backups to be successful, and we feel personally accountable for your success.

One common pattern of feedback we've gotten is that getting a backup volume formatted can be kind of challenging. What partition scheme to use, which format, how many volumes, which volume for what purpose – it can add up to a lot of decisions and steps! It's also too easy to do it in a suboptimal way, and not realize that your backup strategy is missing some key feature.

Today we're introducing CCC 7, which is loaded with new features and enhancements specifically designed to help you build a robust, flexible and successful backup strategy. At the top of the list is a backup volume setup assistant that promotes best practices:

  • Use APFS as the filesystem format – APFS uses storage space more efficiently than the legacy HFS+ filesystem, and it offers native support for backup versioning.
  • Dedicate the destination volume to the specific backup task, and create separate volumes for each source you want to back up.
  • Enable APFS snapshot support for backup versioning.
  • Make FileVault encryption immediately accessible.

Setting up your backup for success just got really easy!

Take a look at what else is new in CCC 7:

Backup Volume Setup Assistant

With just a couple clicks, you can get your new backup disk reformatted using the best filesystem for backups. The Setup Assistant works with existing backups too. Want to revisit your current backup strategy? Click on the Destination selector and choose "Backup Volume Setup Assistant" to enable snapshot support and even encryption on your current backup volume.

More options for limiting and extending snapshot retention

Most points in backup history are pretty mundane, but sometimes you need to mark a specific snapshot as special (e.g. "This is my pre-upgrading to Sonoma backup"). CCC 7 introduces permanent snapshots, which not only allow you to add that context to a snapshot, but also allow you to flag it for permanent retention. We also added controls that allow you to limit total snapshot disk usage and maximum age so that multiple volumes on a given disk can share space more democratically.

Search for files across snapshots

By popular demand, we added functionality to search snapshots by file name in CCC's Snapshot Browser. Select a volume in CCC's sidebar, select a snapshot(s), then right-click and choose "View in Snapshot Browser". The Snapshot Browser will compare the content of each snapshot against the current state of the backup. Enter a search term in the sidebar to find specific files in any of the snapshots, then see how the file differs in each snapshot.

Run time limits based on network conditions

If you travel with your Mac and without your backup, you might prefer that your backup tasks didn't bother trying to run. Or maybe you have a NAS backup task that you'd prefer only ran when your Mac was on ethernet, even if the NAS is available via WiFi. Now you can limit your task to running only when certain network conditions exist, e.g. only on ethernet, only when connected to a specific WiFi network, or only when you're at a specific location.

Back up files and media from your iOS devices to your Mac

Want to bring backups of files and photos from your iOS devices into your CCC backup ecosystem? Now you can! The CCC Dashboard includes a new CCC Diplomat tab where you can designate a volume for your mobile device backups. The Diplomat advertises a service on your local network to iOS devices that are running the CCC Mobile companion application. Make wireless backups easily and quickly!

CCC's file copier handles renamed folders more efficiently

In the past when a folder was renamed on the source, the folder would be removed from the destination and recopied. While it always makes a perfect backup, it was not without a lot of extra effort! CCC's next-generation file copier retains folder inode information, so now we can detect renamed folders and simply rename those folders on your APFS-formatted destination.

Task Notes

Some people manage a lot of backup tasks, and the purpose of each task may not be entirely obvious from the task name alone. Likewise, even within a backup task, you might have different reasons for running individual events, e.g. "This is the backup made prior to installing on the source." CCC 7 adds Task Notes, which allow you to annotate individual tasks and events. Click Notes at the bottom of the CCC window to add notes to a task. To see notes associated with specific events, open the Task History window, select an event, then click the Notes button in the middle-of-the-window separator bar.

Vacation Snapshots

Sometimes when you travel without your backup, you still want some protection from editing mistakes and accidental deletions. If snapshot support is enabled on your source volume, CCC will now create a snapshot on the source at the scheduled run time even if the destination is absent. CCC gives you complete control over these "local backups" – you can determine if snapshots should be kept on the source, and you can fine tune exactly how long they're kept and how much space they're allowed to consume.

Easily encrypt your backups

When you select an APFS volume in CCC's sidebar, you'll find a new FileVault switch. Enabling encryption on a given APFS volume is now that simple – just flip a switch. CCC will also show progress indication of the conversion process.

Other new features and improvements

  • Product tours: These bubble-tip guided tours walk you through various scenarios and show where to find settings. We've peppered these throughout the documentation to provide better direction for getting to various settings and functionality. You can also find these tours in CCC's Help menu > Learn How To…
  • You now have more granular control over the events that are shared with Notification Center, and the interruption level associated with each (e.g. should a notification be presented, should a sound be played?).
  • We added support for creating, deleting, listing and mounting snapshots in the CCC command-line utility. Run the ccc utility without arguments to see the new options.
  • We added a simulator for the Snapshot Retention Policy thinning settings. The thinning settings are designed to reduce overall snapshot disk usage while still providing a good breadth of backup history. The simulator allows you to adjust the settings and see exactly what kind of breadth and granularity you can expect in your backup history. Click the "i" bubble button next to the "Snapshot Thinning" header when customizing a Snapshot Retention Policy to find the Snapshot Thinning Simulator.

For the press release, see here

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