Due to nature of how Time Machine works, backing up or restoring large backups is incredibly slow, even with a USB disk instead of a network attached backup unit.

As a result, I am looking for a faster alternative to backup one mac book pro and restore the data on another, in the same manner the Time Machine does.

Can you suggest any tools/apps to achieve this?

  • Can I ask you to clarify what you mean by "in the same manner the Time Machine does"?
    – Monomeeth
    Jul 22, 2019 at 0:43
  • @Monomeeth I mean I would like to copy everything at once as the Time Machine does, without picking folders and files and doing partial transfers.
    – Tim
    Jul 22, 2019 at 0:45
  • You want a copy now or want a backup for restoring later? Jul 22, 2019 at 10:34
  • @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen both. I need to get the current mac serviced, so I need to move my data to the spare one. And I also want this as a reliable backing/restoring method since I won't have days if something happens to the current machine I am using. I won't have days to restore if something happens while working for a client.
    – Tim
    Jul 22, 2019 at 13:11

2 Answers 2


Two of the most popular and reliable backup options outside of using Time Machine are:

Keep in mind that using something new is still going to take time to do, as you're going to have to clone your data totally from scratch anyway.

So, if you already have a current Time Machine backup, then using that to transfer all your files is certainly a good option. Many people just set it up to do this overnight, so how long it takes isn't really an issue.

However, if you have other reasons for not wanting to use Time Machine, then using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! are excellent choices.

  • Thanks for the alternatives. Both looks promising, I'll try them and share my experience afterwards.
    – Tim
    Jul 22, 2019 at 16:29

The following is assuming you do not have a current backup in place. Also I assume that time is somewhat more important than money but not as important as having problems later.

For your immediate needs the MacOs setup procedure on a swiped or new Mac can import directly from an existing Mac (which you will want connected with the fastest cabling available to you). This will get you up and running quickly with a new Mac you want to look exactly as your old, and you can start working.

Then create a Time Machine backup using an external device (a USB3/Thunderbolt connected SSD would be a good suggestion) and good cabling. Either do this from your new machine (which I would suggest) overnight or your old one while you use the new one at work.

When that is complete, turn your old Mac in for service.

Then consider buying a Time Capsule (should still be available somewhere even though Apple discontinued it). The hourly backup is completely transparent and even if slow to restore, is still better than no backup at all (and somewhat better than a six month old backup).

  • Thanks for your answer. I generally agree with what you say but I think Time Machine protocol is incredibly simple but also incredibly bad at the same time. There is not much difference between using a 3rd party NAS and a Time Capsule in terms of the time needed to backup/restore. Also even after the initial backup, backing up few gigs of changes takes ages. Same applies to mac-to-mac transfers since it's using a similar method. So I don't think the transfer speed is the problem here since I can read gigs per sec from the mbp's disk and send/write hundreds of megs over the network.
    – Tim
    Jul 22, 2019 at 16:28
  • Hence the suggestion to use the installers "read from other mac" which may optimize the reading process for the initial copy. Jul 22, 2019 at 21:56

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