Archived Post

Chronosync revved for macOS Big Sur (however, the OS update removes ability to copy System Volume)

Econ Technologies says ChronoSync 4.9.12 is updated for macOS 11 Big Sur. ChronoSync is a multipurpose Mac app for local and cloud backup, bootable backup, and folder synchronizing. 

Version 4.9.12 also introduces the new “Data Volume-Only” backup to keep all user Home Folders safely backed up. Coinciding with this new feature, Econ Technologies has published a new Tech Note that explains the procedure for creating and maintaining a new Big Sur Bootable Backup and more.

Beginning with macOS Catalina Apple split the main drive into two volumes. Catalina introduced a new APFS feature called “Volume Groups.” Under Catalina, Apple takes advantage of this ability and splits the boot volume into two components: System and Data. The System volume is read-only and contains all the operating system files that should never change during use of the computer.

The Data volume contains everything else, including the user’s home folders. Through a new Apple feature known as firmlinks, the two volumes are linked together to appear as one volume to the user, so you will only see one drive on your Mac. However, there really are two distinct boot volumes mounted. You can see the two volumes using Disk Utility or by mounting the drive on an older macOS. 

ChronoSync can create and maintain bootable backups for Catalina and earlier versions of macOS. Beginning with macOS Big Sur Apple removed the ability to copy the System Volume (at last for now) for now. 

“Hopefully in the near future, we can rely on Apple’s APFS replication utility (ASR) to clone the Big Sur System volume more easily which appears to be the case,” says Joe Jape of Econ. “Since Apple has removed the ability to easily make bootable backups we’ve come up with a work-around. Basically, bootable backups of your Big Sur System and Data volume groups aren’t allowed, but complete duplication of just your Big Sur Data volume can be made.”

his is the approach ChronoSync takes when creating a bootable backup under Big Sur and we have created a tech note on setting this up. Creating a bootable backup went from a one step process to a two step process.  

ChronoSync works with macOS 10.11 and newer. Full working trial licenses cost $49.99. Owners of ChronoSync can install the update for free. A demo is available for download. 

ChronoAgent, the $14.99 companion app to ChronoSync, runs on the destination Mac and connects directly to ChronoSync on the source Mac. A demo is available for download.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.