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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

SuperDuper! backup utility now compatible with macOS Catalina

Note: This story has not been updated since 2021.

You probably don’t need me to remind you of the importance of backing up your data, but for those who’ve made the jump to macOS Catalina, life has gotten a little bit easier now that Shirt Pocket’s SuperDuper! is officially compatible with Apple’s latest release.

Shirt Pocket developer Dave Nanian explains in a blog post that if all goes according to plan, Catalina users shouldn’t notice any difference. Which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when you realize that Catalina has fundamentally changed the way data is stored on your Mac:

Catalina divides your drive into two volumes (which is what we’ve been working all spring, summer and fall to support properly). A read-only “system” volume, and a read/write “data” volume.

Things you are allowed to write to, in general, are on the Data volume. Things you can’t (the OS, Apple’s applications) are on the System volume.

Before Catalina, I often told users that they didn’t “own” most of their drive: the vast majority of it was owned by Apple, or rather macOS. You only really “own” your Home folder, in /Users, and the applications you install. (Yes, yes, I know about /usr/local, etc, but work with me here.)

Catalina now formalizes that concept beyond just Unix permissions and SIP-protected locations. The stuff you “own” is now on the Data volume. The System volume is off-limits. For good.

Due to Catalina’s new, more stringent security system, you’ll also have to make sure to grant Full Disk Access to SuperDuper! so it can, you know, actually copy your files.

You might be wondering why you need a program like SuperDuper! if you already run Time Machine; while it’s not necessary in every case, SuperDuper!’s major benefit is that it makes a bootable clone of your drive. So if, god forbid, something happens to your Mac’s drive, you can clone it right back to your Mac, or even start up from that backup drive and get things done until you have a chance to restore your backup.

I run both a SuperDuper! backup and Time Machine on my iMac–it may be a bit “belt and suspenders” but it’s worth it for the peace of mind. SuperDuper! is well worth the $27.95 that it’s been priced at seemingly forever. I’m glad to have a Catalina-compatible version at last, since I’ve had my backup drive disconnected since upgrading my OS back in October.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is now available for pre-order.]

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