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Backblaze 6.0 Promises “Larger Longer Faster Better” Backups

Backblaze (a TidBITS sponsor) has released version 6.0 of its cloud backup service with improved performance, an increase in the size of drives used for restoring by mail, and more.

The Backblaze software will update itself automatically sooner or later, but if you want to get the latest client right away, click the Backblaze menu bar icon and choose Check for Updates.

The Backblaze menu bar menu.

Here’s what the 6.0 update brings:

  • Increased performance: Backblaze boasts that upload speeds can be up to 50% faster, along with streamlined logging and system resource usage to improve overall performance.
  • Super-sized restores: Backblaze has doubled the capacities of the drives used for its Restore By Mail feature. Flash drives now hold up to 256 GB and hard drives can hold 8 TB. You pay a deposit of either $99 (for the flash drive) or $189 (for the hard drive) and Backblaze loads a drive with data and ships it to you. Return it within 30 days for a full refund.
  • Wi-Fi blocklist: If you regularly tether your Mac to an iPhone or mobile hotspot whose plan has a bandwidth cap, you can now explicitly prevent Backblaze from working while connected to certain Wi-Fi networks. In System Preferences > Backblaze, click Settings. Switch to the Performance screen and click the plus button under “Wi-Fi network block list.” Select a network to block and click Add to add it to the blocklist. The Backblaze Wi-Fi block list.
  • Google single-sign-on: If you’re frequently logged into Google anyway, you can now use your Google account to sign into Backblaze and save time. Go to your Backblaze account settings and make sure you’re in My Settings. Under Security, select Google instead of My Email. Saving files to B2.
  • B2 Integration: One of the main criticisms of Backblaze we’ve heard from TidBITS readers is that it retains only 30 days worth of backups. Backblaze has addressed that—sort of—by letting you save backed-up files to its B2 cloud storage service. In the interface for restoring files from Backblaze (see “How to Restore Files from Backblaze,” 24 August 2018), there is a new Save Files to B2 option. Files you save to B2 remain there until you delete them, but you’ll pay for the privilege—$0.005 per GB per month for storage and $0.01 per GB when you download the files. Those rates are among the lowest in the industry, but still an additional charge. Use this B2 Cost Calculator to figure out how much you’d actually pay for this service.
  • Keep restores longer: Another aspect of the B2 integration is that you can archive a Zip file restore to B2, which might be useful if you need more time to download it or wish to keep a permanent copy stored in the cloud.
  • iOS app: Backblaze’s iOS app has long been one of the service’s weak spots. To address its limitations, Backblaze has released a new version of the app with a cleaner interface, increased (though unspecified) file download size limits, support for time-based one-time passwords (ToTP), support for Touch ID and Face ID, Google single-sign-on support, and warnings for downloads over cellular networks.

Backblaze has been our preferred Internet backup service since CrashPlan left the consumer space (and my personal preference for years). However, you shouldn’t rely on it—or any Internet backup service—as your only backup. Ideally, every Mac user should have three forms of backup:

  • Time Machine for everyday backups and restores of older file versions
  • A bootable duplicate for fast file restores and so you can get up and running quickly again in case of a drive or computer failure
  • An off-site backup like an Internet backup in case of fire, flood, or theft

Put those three together and you’ll be covered in every eventuality.

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