The steps I take before a large backup on the Mac.

If you are put off doing a backup because you know it is going to take forever then these steps might be for you.

My Setup

I do my backups through Backblaze which is a set and forget method of continually backing up your system to an offsite server.

This is great but occasionally I feel the need to do a big manual backup, this is either because I have been disconnected from the net for a while and want to force Backblaze to sync everything or because I just want some non-internet backup of my data.

Preparing for a Backup

Here is what I generally do just before a big backup. The general theme is to stop any unnecessary input/output and to clean out redundant / old files.

  1. Close any application that has nothing to do with backups. I don’t want anything locking a file or generating new files.
  2. Close any application that talks to the internet, for example Dropbox.
  3. Tidy up system junk and files. I have written about this, the TLDR is to use CleanMyMac.
  4. Remove duplicated files (I use Gemini, there are other tools available).

Doing the backup

Wether you are connecting a hard drive to your machine to do the backup or doing something over the net, following those four steps above should now mean you are backing up only important stuff and there will be nothing getting in the way for your backup tool so the backup should finish as quickly as it can.


I have written about Backblaze before if you are interested in reading more about what I think about it.

All the links to external services in this post are affiliate links, I am not mentioning these tools because they have affiliate links, I sought out their affiliate links because I love these tools and knew I would be talking about them.