It’s easy to end up with piles of Word and iWork documents, PDFs, downloaded photos, and other miscellaneous files strewn across backup drives and multiple Macs. Some of those items you may not have fired up in years—until you remember that something you need was never migrated to your current computer.
In the spirit of end-of-the-year cleaning, you could consider consolidation through synchronization: get all the files you need either in a single place that has a copy of everything, even if other copies persist. Or pick multiple locations you want to have an identical set of files that consolidates documents in multiple locations.
The task may sound daunting, but it’s relatively easy with Econ Technologies’ synchronization software. They have two versions that fit different needs. ChronoSync Express ($24.99 or part of the Setapp app subscription) works with internal and external volumes and across the local network; the flagship ChronoSync ($49.99) adds syncing with cloud storage and remote servers, as well as producing bootable backups. (Both include a 15-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee. Licenses are perpetual, including all future upgrades.) Econ Tech also offers InterConneX, free iOS/iPadOS software that works on its own but can also sync with either flavor of ChronoSync.
Start by finding all the sources of files you want to sync. This might include hard drives, SSDs, flash drives, computer—and even cloud- or FTP-stored uploads.
Then use ChronoSync to set up synchronizations. ChronoSync can perform different kinds of sync. The app calls “backups” operations where you don’t delete anything from the destination but only add missing files and folders; it only uses sync in the feature Bidirectional Synchronization, which attempts to make both sides of a sync wind up with the same set of files.
Here’s a simple example in which I synchronized my primary photos folder, where I store loose images—ones I don’t manage in Photos—by “backing up” photos stored on another drive:
In ChronoSync, click “Create a new synchronization task.”
From the Operations menu, select Backup Right-to-left.
Under Destination Target at left in the ChronoSync document, click Choose. I selected the Photos folder on my Eight Terabytes volume.
Under Source Target at right, click Choose. Here, I selected the Photos folder on my startup volume, which has photos I want to copy to Eight Terabytes.
You can now click the big copy arrow between the two, which indicates the direction of copying. I prefer clicking Trial Sync in the toolbar at top—this is a preview of what ChronoSync intends to do.
From the Trial Sync view, you can change what items will be copied (or synchronized), and then click Synchronize to proceed.
You can set this up with individual files or your entire user folder, or, given the right permissions, the entire Home directory on your Mac. Whatever the choice, it’s a great way to have everything finally in one place.
This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Khadijah.
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