Desktop Backups

I use Time Machine for backups on the local network, and Arq for offsite.

For both, I need to exclude a few extra locations that are either transient, or easy to replicate.

  • /Applications, ~/Applications - Application binaries
  • /Library MacOS system settings
  • /System MacOS operating system
  • /private/var System cache, swap files
  • ~/Downloads Transient storage
  • ~/Library/Application Support/Steam Games
  • ~/Library/Arq Metadata about backups, will re-download from cloud storage if I need to restore backups from Arq
  • ~/Movies Transient storage when travelling
  • ~/VirtualBox VMs Disk images, should manually back up anything in there
  • ~/.asdf Binaries
  • ~/.homebrew, /usr/local Binaries
  • ~/code Programming projects, if it’s not in git it doesn’t exist (Github counts as offsite backup) - excluding the whole thing means I don’t need to deal with direnv/logs/node_modules/vendor/cache/whatever else individually, and some of those get out of hand pretty quickly.

Arq 6

The new Arq 6 has a different backup selector. By default it backs up /Applications, /Users, and /Library/Application Support, and has an extensive exclusion list (including Cache, Downloads, …).

For my own preferences, /Library/Application Support is only a few hundred MB so I kept it in, and added the following excluded items:

  • Applications (covers both paths)
  • VirtualBox VMs
  • .direnv
  • .asdf
  • Movies
  • Library/Application Support/Steam
  • com.docker.docker (where it keeps its containers)
  • node_modules for Javascript
  • vendor/cache and vendor/gems for Ruby