How to Clone Mac Hard Drive

As you can quickly clone your hard drive on the MacBook, we show you in this guide.Sometimes it may be necessary to clone a Mac hard drive. For example, if you want to copy the Mac 1: 1 to a new Mac. That’s how it works.

How to Clone Mac Hard Drive

Some things have always made macOS better than Windows, including the complete cloning of the Mac hard drive. Because basically this is quite possible with the hard disk utility. However, this is not very comfortable, especially since the APFS file system can cause problems here:

Clone Mac Hard Drive

Both drives must be formatted under APFS, which is not necessarily useful in a typical clone scenario – internal SSD hard drive to external USB hard drive mechanical design.

Clone or backup?

Therefore, you should clarify in advance what you actually want to do exactly. Would you like to create a one-to-one clone of your hard drive to boot another Mac with the clone, for example? Or do you just want to copy all data, that is: create a backup?

While the easiest way to do a simple backup with Time Machine is to allow it to be restored to a new Mac, cloning goes one step further by creating a full 1: 1 copy of the system disk – ideal if, for example, the hard disk is in a Mac should be exchanged.

Advantages of a HDD clone

Such a 1: 1 copy has two advantages: It is bootable directly from the USB port if you press the [option] button at system startup. The Mac then runs from the external clone, which is also a good solution for example as a rescue system.

The second advantage is that no macOS needs to be installed on the system hard drive to rebuild a Mac using the clone: ​​just start from the external hard drive, start the cloning program, and copy the external drive to the system drive. Already the new Mac is like the old one.

Clone Mac Hard Drive with Carbon Copy Cloner

But what clone program to take? The best option is Carbon Copy Cloner , which is free for 30 days. Enough time to do a hard disk move. An alternative is the tool SuperDuper! that works on a similar principle. Here’s how it works with Carbon Copy Cloner:

Step 1:

Download the free trial version of the Carbon Copy Cloner .The trial version is valid for 30 days, and finally the tool costs just under 34 euros.

Step 2:

In the overview, select the drive to be cloned on the left as the source – your system drive .

Step 3:

Select an external hard disk as the destination . This should already be formatted and set up.

Step 4:

That’s about it: a click on ” cloning ” asks at the first start for a utility to install. Enter your administrator password and click ” Install Utility “.

Step 5:

The copying process starts now. Depending on your system hard drive occupancy and the speed of your Mac and external hard drive, the process may take a while. Then you have a bootable clone of your Mac hard drive on the external disk.

Clone Mac Hard Drive :  Method 2

If you think about upgrading your MacBook with another hard drive, it can result in a lot of work. Completely rebuilding a system can be extremely tedious. By cloning your current hard drive, you can avoid the hassle of having to go from where you originally left off.

First, you should free your old hard drive from unnecessary garbage. Everything that is not needed should not be cloned. If in doubt, make a backup with TimeMachine before working on your hard drive. Then restart your Mac.

Format new SSD

Before you can use the new hard drive for cloning, you must first format it .

  1. Connect the hard disk to your MacBook .
  2. Then start the Disk Utility. Use the key combination [Command] + [Spacebar] to open Spotlight. Then enter “Disk Utility” and confirm with [Enter].
  3. Select the “Delete” tab. In the drop-down menu you are now looking for your new SSD.
  4. Select the “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” format and rename the volume.
  5. Download and start the program “Carbon Copy Cloner”.
  6. Now select the active hard disk – the one you want to clone.
  7. As the destination, select the new SSD.
  8. Now click on “Clone” and wait for the process to finish.

Clone Mac Hard Drive with individual steps

  1. Download and install the freeware ” Carbon Copy Cloner ” first .
  2. Then start the program.
  3. Select the source above, ie the active hard disk.
  4. As a target, click on the new SSD, which has been previously installed .
  5. All other settings are already optimized. Click “Clone” to start the process. This can sometimes take several hours.

As you are installing a drive in your MacBook , we show you in the next instruction. This practice tip is based on Carbon Copy Cloner 4.0.3 on Mac OS.

Clone Mac hard drive bootable: the preparations

Let’s take the opportunity and clean up the old record: garbage belongs in the trash, the trash emptied. If you do not want the old hard disk to serve as a backuphard disk in the future , you should start TimeMachine for a backup copy.

Also not a must, but a recommendation: Reboot your Mac and leave the programs closed .

Connections for cloning the hard drive to the Mac

Simplest Solution: For example, Samsung offers some  SSDs as an optional notebook kit on. Here is a USB 3.0 to SATA adapterincluded – wonderful.We somehow have to connect the new SSD to our computer to clone it. I use a SATA docking station with which I can also connect my old internal hard drives (both 2.5 “and 3.5”) to my MacBook via USB. Alternative: Screw your hard drive into an external USB hard drive enclosure on.

Format new SSD

Before we can use the SSD, we need to format it.

  1. Open the Disk utility (eg via the Mac search) or click on Initialize after connecting the error message .
  2. Select the Delete tab and the new SSD.
  3. Choose the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format and enter a name.
  4. Click on delete and confirm.

Then we can clone the disk:

Clone Mac Hard Drive with Carbon Copy Cloner

For cloning the hard disk we now use  Carbon Copy Cloner . The free 30-day trial is enough. Only those who want to make regular copying processes, must resort to a purchase license.

Now install Carbon Copy Cloner by clicking on the file in the download folder and following the dialog.

Start copying

Here we go:

  1. Start Carbon Copy Cloner now.
  2. Choose as source the current hard drive of your Mac and as target the new SSD.
  3. The other settings are already optimized according to the developer. In our case – with a new SSD – we can choose the setting delete objects that are not located on the source . More detailed explanations called Carbon Copy Cloner understandable in the program window.
  4. Click clones and wait.

In my case, the cloning of the hard drive took just under two hours. There were about 200 GB via USB 2.0.

Check cloning process

Carbon Copy Cloner recommends checking the copy process. The best way to start before the conversion of the SSD OS X of the new hard drive.

  1. Restart the Mac.
  2. Press the alt key immediately after the reboot.
  3. Now select the new drive connected via USB as the boot drive.

Do not be surprised: The boot process takes a lot longer at the beginning – and even more so via USB instead of SATA.

Copy Hard Disk – Conclusion

OS X Mavericks, Mailer, Pages, Photoshop Lightroom – everything starts with me easily from the new SSD. However, I have to enter the license code again for Niksoftware photo plugins. I did not notice any further disabilities in the workplace.

Conclusion: If you want to switch uncomplicated to a new hard drive, you can easily use Carbon Copy Cloner for copying.

How to Clone Mac Hard Drive
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