Online Backup versus Time Machine


Today’s Question: Is Backblaze better than Apple Time Machine for restoring images?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I wouldn’t necessarily say that Backblaze ( is better than Time Machine for restoring photos. Each of these backup solutions has strengths and weaknesses depending on context.

More Detail: I use both Time Machine (which is built into the Macintosh operating system) and Backblaze to backup my internal hard drive. I also use GoodSync ( to backup my external hard drives. While there are differences between Time Machine and Backblaze, I wouldn’t choose one over the other and instead use both.

The key advantage of Backblaze is that it provides an offsite backup. A local backup is great, but it does mean that if a physical location has a serious problem (such as a fire) you might lose your original data and your backup data all at once. Having a backup offsite helps overcome this sort of issue.

Time Machine is what I consider a “local” backup solution, though you could obviously take the backup drive used for Time Machine to a different physical location. The main advantage to Time Machine is that it provides an incremental and historical backup, so I can recover files from various points in time as long as my backup goes back far enough.

For example, let’s assume I had been working on a document but made a critical error a few days ago, and I continued to make changes to the document over the several days since without realizing my prior error. With Time Machine I could go back in time several days to find a version of my document without the error, and I could recover the necessary text from that earlier version of the document (or recover the entire document if necessary). Similarly, Time Machine makes it relatively easy to restore a file that was erased accidentally.

Backblaze is more focused on maintaining a current backup in a remote location. If you need to restore individual files from a Backblaze backup, you can do that through their website. You could also recover an entire set of backup data, such as the backup of an entire hard drive, either via an internet download or by paying to have a hard drive shipped to you with the recovery data.

So, in some respects Time Machine makes recovery of files a little easier, but Backblaze provides the advantage of an offsite backup. I therefore use both in concert with each other, supplemented by GoodSync to back up my external hard drives locally.