Apple's moves point to a future with no bootable backups, says developer

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  • Reply 21 of 36
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,142member
    t1-live said:
    When my iMac drive crashed a while ago I was able boot from an external one and continue working without delay, loosing only 1 day's work, while waiting for the new internal drive to arrive. If Apple seriously takes away this option, then it might be time to consider the unthinkable: A Windows machine.
    Breaking news: Macs don't have removable storage anymore.
  • Reply 22 of 36
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,142member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Sounds a bit silly to me. 

    Apple doesn’t allow users to boot from an external drive. 

    Also Apple – no sign of a decent backup system. 
    1) you can boot from an external drive

    2) Time Machine
  • Reply 23 of 36
    I feel my love affair with Apple is ending. I love the fact I can boot from a super fast SSD, it made it easy to cross grade from my MacBook to an M1 Mac mini as I can still boot the laptop drive from an older iMac I’ve kept. The loss of target display mode on that iMac was significant too. There is a progressive loss of convenience happening here. 
    Same here
  • Reply 24 of 36
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,142member
    Here’s my thoughts, maybe MacOS will be backed up in iCloud, similarly to iOS and iPadOS. This would then allow for someone to wipe their Mac, and replace whatever parts and upon restore, restore items through iCloud. I can understand the lack of being able to make a bootable drive can make someone nervous, I myself have done my fair share of wipes, but as long as Apple has some kind of system to replace it, I think we’ll all be fine. 
    There's nothing preventing you from backing up your data locally. The OS itself is available to install at any point through Internet Recovery, and your data easily available through Migration Assistant from either a cloned or Time Machine backup. Whether they add iCloud backups for Mac is immaterial.
  • Reply 25 of 36
    Here’s my thoughts, maybe MacOS will be backed up in iCloud, similarly to iOS and iPadOS. This would then allow for someone to wipe their Mac, and replace whatever parts and upon restore, restore items through iCloud. I can understand the lack of being able to make a bootable drive can make someone nervous, I myself have done my fair share of wipes, but as long as Apple has some kind of system to replace it, I think we’ll all be fine. 
    There's nothing preventing you from backing up your data locally. The OS itself is available to install at any point through Internet Recovery, and your data easily available through Migration Assistant from either a cloned or Time Machine backup. Whether they add iCloud backups for Mac is immaterial.
    It seems there's a problem with that, mate - namely that some Mac OS versions, which originally shipped with some older Macs, simply won't load over Internet Recovery anymore. Such Macs may not be too common nowadays, yet the issue is Apple may decide to up their game and cut even more versions off anytime.
    edited May 2021
  • Reply 26 of 36
    yuck9yuck9 Posts: 112member
    I feel my love affair with Apple is ending. I love the fact I can boot from a super fast SSD, it made it easy to cross grade from my MacBook to an M1 Mac mini as I can still boot the laptop drive from an older iMac I’ve kept. The loss of target display mode on that iMac was significant too. There is a progressive loss of convenience happening here. 
    And in my case having to drive over 100 miles to a Apple store, drop it off, then return to pick it up once fixed. Time to move on if this happens.

    No more Time Machine or CCC backup and restore. WTF
    timetravelNov51955elijahg
  • Reply 27 of 36
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    avon b7 said:
    I imagine there will be an alternative and equivalent option to prevent downtime but if it includes the use of paid iCloud space, that will be the end in my case.

    There is no real and valid excuse for me not to have a local bootable backup available to me if I need it.

    Currently I depend on bootable drives as my Macs are old.

    I have daily drivers with software I need for daily things. Then there are the occasional times I need more up to date software that won't run ob those systems.

    I can manage this by simply booting off an external drive with the system/software I need.

    It might be old school but it works. 

    The same applies with bootable backups. If the installed drive fails I can be back up and running in no time.

    Time for an Apple NAS for Dummies and experts alike with Netboot and and failsafe Time Machine incorporated. 

    ICloud storage is pretty cheap.  
    And adding automatic iCloud backups would greatly enhance the Mac's ecosystem.   Yes, users should always back up their data "regularly" but I suspect only a very select handful actually do so -- especially since it involved investing in extra equipment to do so.

    I think that switching to exclusive auto iCloud backups would benefit far more Mac users (the mom & pop ones) than it would harm
  • Reply 28 of 36
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,590member
    I feel like there's a lot of confusion here as to what is and isn't or won't be possible in the future. 

    Basically, you won't be able to clone the macOS system partition to a backup drive. But, does that matter when all of the meaningful data is on the user data partition now? 

    Can you create a bootable backup by installing macOS on an external disk and then using the user data partition to back up your data to? 

    The other main issue being that you can't boot from *any* drive if your internal storage fails, but my primary use for this was using my bootable backup in conjunction with another Mac entirely while my primary Mac was being serviced, so I could pick up work from where I left off more or less, without having to do a full Migration Assistant transfer. Seems like that will still be possible, assuming I can install the OS on an external drive and still backup to the user data partition. If that's not possible, I'm not sure it's spelled out here. Anyone know for sure?
    https://eclecticlight.co/2021/05/25/can-you-create-an-external-bootable-disk-by-cloning-an-m1-mac/
  • Reply 29 of 36
    Apple keeps riding that shark it jumped on in 2016 with its godawful butterfly keyboard MacBook Pros. Next, they soldered everything, making upgrades or component replacement impossible: effectively making their computers disposable and much more expensive to add RAM and larger storage, as that has to be preconfigured. Apple upgrade components can cost 3 times the price of buying the stuff separately and later when upgrading as needed on Retina and previous laptops.

    Now, the company is effectively killing bootable backups, which have saved my bacon many, many times, most recently when Big Sur hosed FileVault, preventing OS updates. So, I thought "erase and restore" from CCC or SuperDuper. But, no, that does not work under Big Sur.

    I actually had to use Windows (!!) to retrieve my critical user files after restoring an old Mojave backup, including my up-to-date Outlook mail, from the (thankfully unencypted) Carbon Copy Cloner backup; Apple hides the user volume Library when Big Sur is backed up, even if the drive is opened by Mojave or Catalina. But I can see and recover these files with Windows and MacDrive. (Huh?)

    Apple is obviously thinking: "with a failed soldered SSD, people can't restore stuff, so why bother with a bootable backup?" But what if the OS just gets corrupted, as mine did? It took me a week to recover.

    And, no, clunky all-or-nothing TimeMachine is not the answer.

    I'm back on Mojave, and both my now-no-fan-noise MBPro (unlike it was under Big Sur) and I are as happy as clams.

    I just ordered a mint refurbed mid-2015 MacBook Pro for $800, the best Apple laptop of all time & the final one with Jobs' fingerprints all over it. I'll be using that and Mojave (or Catalina if forced to) until the wheels fall off. The M1 mini I tried out has already been sent back.

    "The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain." - Scotty on Star Trek III after disabling a more advanced pursuit ship.
    edited May 2021 elijahg
  • Reply 30 of 36
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,142member
    Here’s my thoughts, maybe MacOS will be backed up in iCloud, similarly to iOS and iPadOS. This would then allow for someone to wipe their Mac, and replace whatever parts and upon restore, restore items through iCloud. I can understand the lack of being able to make a bootable drive can make someone nervous, I myself have done my fair share of wipes, but as long as Apple has some kind of system to replace it, I think we’ll all be fine. 
    There's nothing preventing you from backing up your data locally. The OS itself is available to install at any point through Internet Recovery, and your data easily available through Migration Assistant from either a cloned or Time Machine backup. Whether they add iCloud backups for Mac is immaterial.
    It seems there's a problem with that, mate - namely that some Mac OS versions, which originally shipped with some older Macs, simply won't load over Internet Recovery anymore. Such Macs may not be too common nowadays, yet the issue is Apple may decide to up their game and cut even more versions off anytime.
    Uh, Internet Recovery can be used to either load the version of macOS that shipped with your Mac or the version most currently supported by it. Or you can use Recovery Partition to install the former. 

    Considering this post is about Apple Silicon and Big Sur going forward, not sure what your point is. 
  • Reply 31 of 36
    honestonehonestone Posts: 28member
    I rely heavily on SuperDuper! for my backups. I have not needed to boot from such a backup many times due to an emergency, but I have used such a method like AniMill did for doing a clean, fresh installation of the Mac OS, and then subsequently migrating/copying needed files, folders, apps, settings, etc. from that backup. Sure has been fool proof for me.

    Apple has been making life more and more difficult as each year goes by. This "event" is, and will be, an abortion.
    elijahg
  • Reply 32 of 36
    DetnatorDetnator Posts: 287member
    welshdog said:
    lkrupp said:

    We get so stuck on how things have always worked and expect to continue to work the same way. Apple has decided to break with the past to move forward. We’ll see if the market votes with its pocketbook. I suspect more Macs will be sold than ever before.
    Agreed. I have made many clones and restores over the decades, but if that is no longer necessary or is becoming insecure, then I'll move forward with what is available. I'll probably start doing more frequent time machine backups and might get a NAS or something similar to make those TM backups convenient.
    To me the relevant question is what are they trying to solve/fix with these changes. Given their moves over the past few years it seems like this is part of their plans to Mac macOS/iOS/IPadOS a more secure place for users. It would be nice if they would explain it-maybe they’ll address it at WWDC next month.
    Catching up on some articles I didn’t have time for a few months ago…

    Yes this is absolutely about security, at least, plus performance, plus possibly some other things. It’s about even more tight integration between hardware and software, which possibly more than anything else is what makes all Apple’s devices more performant than similarly specked alternatives. 

    Performance: The tight integration is partly why my M1 13” MBP still does almost everything faster, cooler, and for more than twice the battery life, than my maxed out 16” Intel MBP with four times the RAM double the cores and a much larger battery. 

    Security:  the tight integration between software and hardware more efficiently enables things like immediate FileVault encryption (instead of it taking hours to encrypt the drive), and immediate disabling/remote wiping with Find My, Touch ID from an external wireless keyboard without any risk of the biometrics being spoofed, copied, or compromised. Among other things that are all only possible on Apple Silicon devices.

    I like being able to boot my Mac from an external drive in a pinch, but the alternatives - reinstall and migration assistant - don’t suck so much that I value external boot over the other improvements.
  • Reply 33 of 36
    DetnatorDetnator Posts: 287member
    This feels like one of those "out of touch with the user base" decisions Apple has made in the past.

    The fact that you can buy a Mac and still use it years (like, a decade) later has always been one of the Mac's hallmarks.

    Now, if 5 years down the road my internal storage dies AND Apple gives me a cost-effective and quick way to fix it, I'm actually OK with this decsion. But if the storage dies and I'm just out of luck because the Mac is now an appliance, well, this is a real problem for me.

    A few thoughts here:

    1. If your internal storage dies it’s no different to any other critical part dying. If you have backups you can get a replacement Mac up and running in less than an hour. 

    2. Chip based drives die orders of magnitude less frequently than mechanical ones. And soldered drives much less than socketed ones. So the chances of drive death before other critical parts are extremely low. 

    3. Cost: AppleCare+ is now extendable indefinitely, not limited to just three years, and can be extended by the year or paid by the month if you prefer to spread the cost out over time. For the price of a coffee once a month your Mac has indefinite life at Apple’s expense when anything goes wrong.

    The only thing not expressly addressed here is the downtime while it’s off being repaired. But that’s an issue in almost all cases regardless of external bootability.  Even so, $1000 gets a new MBA replacement for two weeks while your Mac is down, and then return it for full refund when you get yours back. 

    I think they’ve got you covered. 😊 


  • Reply 34 of 36
    DetnatorDetnator Posts: 287member
    CanuckMac said:
    Apple keeps riding that shark it jumped on in 2016 with its godawful butterfly keyboard MacBook Pros. Next, they soldered everything, making upgrades or component replacement impossible: effectively making their computers disposable and much more expensive to add RAM and larger storage, as that has to be preconfigured. Apple upgrade components can cost 3 times the price of buying the stuff separately and later when upgrading as needed on Retina and previous laptops.

    Now, the company is effectively killing bootable backups, which have saved my bacon many, many times, most recently when Big Sur hosed FileVault, preventing OS updates. So, I thought "erase and restore" from CCC or SuperDuper. But, no, that does not work under Big Sur.

    I actually had to use Windows (!!) to retrieve my critical user files after restoring an old Mojave backup, including my up-to-date Outlook mail, from the (thankfully unencypted) Carbon Copy Cloner backup; Apple hides the user volume Library when Big Sur is backed up, even if the drive is opened by Mojave or Catalina. But I can see and recover these files with Windows and MacDrive. (Huh?)

    Apple is obviously thinking: "with a failed soldered SSD, people can't restore stuff, so why bother with a bootable backup?" But what if the OS just gets corrupted, as mine did? It took me a week to recover.

    And, no, clunky all-or-nothing TimeMachine is not the answer.

    I'm back on Mojave, and both my now-no-fan-noise MBPro (unlike it was under Big Sur) and I are as happy as clams.

    I just ordered a mint refurbed mid-2015 MacBook Pro for $800, the best Apple laptop of all time & the final one with Jobs' fingerprints all over it. I'll be using that and Mojave (or Catalina if forced to) until the wheels fall off. The M1 mini I tried out has already been sent back.

    "The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain." - Scotty on Star Trek III after disabling a more advanced pursuit ship.
    “OMG these automatic cars are so stupid. They don’t even have a clutch!! General Motors have completely lost their way. They’re doomed.” 

    — people like you in 1948

    “OMG this iPhone is so stupid. It doesn’t even have a stylus or a physical keyboard. Apple have lost their way. They’re doomed.”

    — people like you in 2007. 


    There is so much wrong in this post I had to say something despite it being three months later. The short version is: you’re doing it wrong. 

    I’m not going to cover everything, but a few short points:  

    1. soldered drives and RAM fail a fraction as much as socketed ones. That and other benefits have been pointed out by me and others in these forums countless times before but people like you dismiss and ignore so you can have your rant. Maybe Apple products just aren’t for you. 

    2. Apple doesn’t and has never made “junk”. In 2021, socketed RAM and drives in a laptop is junk. If you don’t appreciate that then see point 1 above. Apple make premium products at premium prices. Always have and I expect always will. If “expensive” is a problem for you then maybe Apple products are not for you, and I’m sure the likes of Dell would love to have you as a customer. 

    3. “Erase and restore… does not work under Big Sur.” Incorrect. I’ve done this multiple times on both my Intel 16” MBP and my M1 13” MBP. Whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it wrong. 

    4. “All or nothing time machine”…? Huh? You’re blaming Apple because you really don’t know how to extract a single file or folder or a bunch of them from a time machine backup? (It’s very possible and very easy).

    You may benefit from asking for help instead of ranting and raving and blaming the manufacturer for your lack of understanding how technology has improved and processes change with that. 

    edited August 2021
  • Reply 35 of 36
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,358member
    Detnator said:

     In 2021, socketed RAM and drives in a laptop is junk. 
    Flexible design decisions do not make a product "junk".  Cool down with the extremity.
    docno42
  • Reply 36 of 36
    DetnatorDetnator Posts: 287member
    crowley said:
    Detnator said:

     In 2021, socketed RAM and drives in a laptop is junk. 
    Flexible design decisions do not make a product "junk".  Cool down with the extremity.
    C’mon.  Read my comment in context. Not extremity in that context — ie. How Steve used the word (“junk”). 

    I don’t claim to know Steve but I believe in 2021 he would have considered and described socketed RAM and drives as junk compared with the options we have now. My primary support for that claim is Tim’s Apple going in that direction all out, plus what I do know of Steve’s intense desire even from the 70’s to have a completely closed end to end solution from the start. 

    People complain Tim has taken Apple in directions Steve never wanted to, but at least in this context, today’s Macs are as close to what it seems Steve wanted as ever. 

    In some ways the iPhone and iPad are what Steve wanted the Mac to be — totally closed, end to end, etc. but by the time he came back to Apple in the 90’s he had to work with what he had at the time. So instead of moving the Mac to the closed state iPad and iPhone are, he kinda moved on and created anew the devices he always wanted, while slowly moving the Mac in that direction as much as he could get away with.  

    And if anyone wants to say how terrible an idea that was, let’s consider how successful iPhone and especially iPad are compared with the Mac, plus how much more successful the Mac is today than ever before (if sales and market share are any indication — sure, Mac market share is still only a blip compared with Windows but it’s still higher now than moat of the past).

    Meanwhile, why don’t we hear many complaining about iPads and iPhones not having replaceable RAM and storage?

    PS. You can keep throwing that “flexible” word around as much as you like, but it continues to miss the point. The vast majority of people who choose Apple products do so BECAUSE of the tight integration, relative reliability, premium designs, and other benefits that are a direct result of the closed, end to end approach that you describe as inflexibility. 

    It’s one or the other. And like the whole walled garden thing, and the “limited” ports thing, Apple chooses closed, tight, secure, etc. and Apple’s customers choose Apple because of those things (net despite them). If you want open, flexible, etc. then great. There’s enough of you and other people like you who want that, that keep the Android and Windows markets alive. I’m sure they’d welcome you as a customer.  

    I appreciate your responses even to threads I come in months late on sometimes, but the more you and I have exchanges like this, I honestly can’t understand why you even bother with Apple products when so much of Apple’s philosophies are so contrary to your desires and preferences. I’d love it if you’d explain that one. 
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