Laurence Andrews

Getting Ready for the Big Day! (MacBook Pro Arrival)

So the MacBook Pro is still due for delivery tomorrow, tracking hasn’t updated at all over the weekend except to indicate it’s left Tamworth. Not having it arrive this weekend is probably a good thing because it’s allowed me to do some housework on file storage… (which I’ve been putting off for ages).

Since it’s been so long, I’m going to aim for a complete fresh start on the new Mac. Which I know is going to irritate me for a while, but hopefully it won’t take too long to get back to how I like things.

Right now, I’ve got everything organised as follows…

Where Things Live

Trying to keep this as simple as possible, my current MacBook Pro has 500GB of SSD which at the moment isn’t too much of a problem. It will be at some point soon, because my Photo library consumes 50% of that, baby photos will cause that to climb rapidly! New MacBook Pro has 1TB onboard, which should hopefully, just about cover growth for the next three years. I would have loved to have gone for the 2TB option, but it was an extra £400 😱!!

Local Machine

  • Almost everything now lives in iCloud Drive. That’s Desktop, Documents, Screenshots, Scans, Projects, etc. ‘Optimise Storage’ is off.
  • Apple Photo library is stored locally, and enabled for iCloud.
  • Photos/Images not in the library live in iCloud Drive as files (commonly files I’ve exported from Photo Library anyway)
  • Downloads are stored locally, I don’t back these up and consider them expendable.
  • Don’t really have any Music, the music I do have lives in iCloud as files.
  • Email is stored locally (and with FastMail)
  • Don’t have any movies.

External SSD

I have a 500Gb Samsung T7 SSD, which was a really good investment earlier this year to help migrate from Google Photos. It’s encrypted and now takes care of two things:

  • Large video media, typically videos from my DJI Osmo, Drone, GoPro, etc. Ordered in directories by month so I can try and avoid duplicates. Essentially, everything I don’t want in Photo Library.
  • Old documents/data which I don’t need in my life any more or don’t want to sort out.


Of course, Blog (posts, site and images) lives in GitHub, copies of the repo are also on my iPhone (via Working Copy) and Mac. Same for other miscellaneous projects.


My goal is to follow Backblaze’s 3–2–1 Backup Strategy and have two local copies of everything, one on my machine, another on a separate drive plus another stored off site. Important to remember that iCloud provides synchronisation convenience but is not a backup method. I want to be able to know that if I lose my Mac, I don’t lose anything. And if I were to lose my Mac and my local storage, I don’t lose anything. Same for if the cloud provider looses my stuff.


Surprise! I use Backblaze. I don’t love it, but actually it works fine for essentially everything I need it to do. With the amount of data I have, I feel that it’s pretty expensive, but it’s worth it for the convenience. I have it setup to back up everything on my Mac, including iCloud Drive data (which needs to be kept local). It excludes certain things, but nothing I consider of value.

With the new Mac, I’ll set the External SSD to backup too, so that’s all that data is off site. I’ve been putting off seeding that drive until I’ve had a tidy-up because it is going to take absolutely ages to upload. I will need to make sure to keep the drive connected as much as possible when at home too, perhaps an iOS shortcut can help remind me. I also plan to subscribe to Extended Version History, hopefully this will help cover me should I forget to connect it one month, although I don’t quite know for sure…

Time Machine

Of course, can’t go wrong with Apple TimeMachine. I have a crappy, slow 1TB disk that I use for backing up. I have a long USB-C cable that goes under my desk because it’s incessant spinning and clicking drives me crazy. This serves as my local backup of everything on my Mac.

What’s missing?

I need to have a secondary local copy of the External SSD. I think the answer to this is to have a slave device that I periodically synchronise from the master. I’ve been holding off because the 500Gb drive is almost full and if I upgrade I want to upgrade as a pair, ideally to 2TB rather than 1TB. I have debated buying the SanDisk Extreme Pro, which has a Read-Write speed of 2000MB Per Second, which is twice as fast as the Samsung T7. The 1TB version is £150, which actually isn’t too bad, the 2TB is obviously more. However, if I do buy a pair, the slave device could be slower since I’d run the sync overnight.. I think I’m going to collect a LOT of video over the next few years once the baby is here.

Alternative and probably a more sensible option is a Synology NAS, but with the spec I want, it’s just shy of £1,000 which is a fair wedge of cash. I would probably go with the DS720+. I expect the The Read-Write speed of a NAS even if it’s tricked out is going to be WAAAY slower than the external drives and that I suspect would really annoy me. Maybe something for when I get sick of external SSDs. It would also need its own Backblaze B2, which adds further cost. Advantage is that it could work with CCTV should we want it for the new house. Another pet-project is to combine the (4!) separate raspberry Pi devices to a set of NUC (or similar) devices and run VMs on a proper hypervisor. The NAS would be ideal for providing shared storage. This is a project for another day…

The local TimeMachine drive needs replacing too. I want to go SSD so I don’t have to listen to the clicking. Perhaps it’ll be faster too, because right now, it’s crazy slow.

I am debating re-signing up to Backblaze with a new account so that I can set my storage location to EU, rather than US. This is only possible at sign up by changing the tiniest most non-obvious option at sign-up. Seriously Backblaze, buy some DCI bandwidth!

Also, I need to do better with random SD-Cards. I have a terrible habit of leaving stuff on them and not knowing if I’ve transferred it off already. Then I end up just dumping everything on my Mac when I need an empty SD-Card.