On Backup.app

Backups always come up this time of year. If you’re at home visiting family, it’s your Nerd Duty to make sure your family members have something in place to keep their data safe.

There are lots of good options out there today, but back in the early 2000s, that wasn’t true. If you were a .Mac subscriber, though, Apple’s Backup.app made data duplication easier than it had been previously. You didn’t even have to download the app; you could install it right from your iDisk folder.

There were three major versions of Backup.app; that screenshot is from version 3, which was by far the most useful.

(Version 2’s headline feature? Support for FireWire drives.)

The app came with several preset backup solutions:

  • Back up your Home Folder to either a local disk (daily) or optical disk (monthly)
  • Back up personal data to iDisk daily
  • Back up iLife data to optical disk weekly
  • Back up iTunes library to optical disk monthly

Each of these four options could be tweaked further, and Backup.app could be used to help restore data from the various destinations if needed.

The final option allowed for custom backups, mixing and matching files, destinations and frequency of the backup:

Backup.app could be used to copy data to a non-iDisk location without a .Mac subscription, but was limited to 100 MB per backup. It was really designed to be a park for users paying the $99/year fee.

Backup.app — while it runs under OS X El Capitan — is past its useful life. Time Machine shipped with OS X Leopard in 2007, making Backup.app less useful. By the time MobileMe was announced a year later, the writing was on the wall for this little utility.