It’s been happening to me for many years now: I keep an eye on all the WWDCs in June, year after year, to see if Apple announces some kind of evolution in its macOS backup tool. And Time Machine has not received any attention for too long now.
But after the ‘Wonderlust’ event in which we have seen the arrival of the iPhone 15, I’m starting to believe that Time Machine may disappear in the same way that the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule disappeared in their day: suddenly and without warning. The reason? The latest news from iCloud.
Or Time Machine goes to the cloud…
The iCloud news I’m talking about are the new iCloud+ storage plans, which reach 6 TB and up to 12 TB. It is an abundance of storage designed for professionals or entire families who rely a lot on Apple’s cloud.
But 6 or 12 TB of space is also such an amount of storage that we could save a backup of one or more Macs on it without problems. Internet speed is no longer an excuse when we do exactly the same from our iPhone, even through 5G networks.
I’m already surprised that macOS Sonoma has not introduced cloud copy options knowing that we were going to have 12 TB in iCloud Drive
What do I think is going to happen over time? That we will make backup copies of macOS in the same way that we already do with local copies of the iPhone. That is to say: Time Machine may offer a new panel to make online copiesin iCloud, leaving the local ones in the background as “the old thing.”
Those Time Machine copies would work the same way as iOS ones: the user’s preferences and data would be saved, but not the system or the apps you install from the Mac App Store. And they would remain as files in the cloud, to be used when restoring a computer. I repeat: with 12 TB it is something that no longer has any excuse for it not ending up happening in a while. I’m already surprised that it didn’t happen with macOS Sonoma.
…or Time Machine disappears in favor of the cloud
Another thing that could happen is that Time Machine could simply disappear. That iCloud Drive itself makes the backup tool obsolete, offering the security of the cloud in the event of a computer failure.
For that, the file synchronization behavior would have to be tweaked: if you fill 1 TB of data in iCloud Drive, that TB will constantly be wanting to download to a Mac with less disk capacity. Better options may be needed to prevent a folder from syncing, but that would be more than enough for an experienced user.
The advantage of all this would be get rid of external hard drives for backups, something that Apple would know how to promote. Whether it happens or not, what is very clear is that Time Machine deserves someone to pay attention to it.
Image | Szabo Victor
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