Recommended setup and exclusion policy for Mac OS

I apologize this was discussed before, however I haven’t seen anything specific after searching the forum and documentation. What files do you exclude from your Mac OS backups? I have found a couple (one old, one newer) exclusion policies for Duplicacy and want to get thoughts on these:

Unattended Duplicacy setup on macOS | Trinkets, Odds, and Ends (older)

I am considering to set up KopiaUI for just the user (Mac OS Monterey). Is it advisable to add system-wide resource directories like /Library to the backup? Is the per-user setup the recommended way when there are multiple user accounts?


Macs are hard. If/when you get a new mac, the software mostly need to get installed once again which is not super hard, but the user is a new ‘instance’ even if it has the same name as your old account.

While you could restore program files back into /Library, you would still need all the other steps made while installing each piece like installing kext’s or dropping those at-boot .plist files to start daemons if your software has them.

So I sort-of accept that the backup will restore my home account files and documents but not all the keychain secrets, and that I need to reinstall most/all software once over, in case of a total restore to an empty drive.

Thanks for the reply. I think I’d be okay with just being able to restore the users’ files and application settings (after installing again).

Now this was just my personal thoughts (and shortcomings), but not related to Kopia specifically, I’ve done a full restore from IBM backups on my work mac and those were my experiences there, and I expect that kopia will be the same, more or less.
Any non-native solution will probably suffer from mostly the same issues.
The steps from “I can protect all non-moving personal files you have” to “I can replace the machine bootblocks, partition info, merge certificate-protected keystores for you and fix registries the OS keeps” is quite large and requires a lot of per-platform knowledge.

As of now, I don’t hold this against kopia on Mac, nor does it surprise me that it doesn’t save Selinux context info on linux files or fix the 100M special-restore-partition on windows yet. Might appear if people that know a lot on each platform help out, but currently it protects the bulk of your data (in terms of size at least).

I agree moving from one system to another is difficult and generally settings don’t survive. This might not be bad since starting with freshly installed applications will prevent accumulation of obsolete settings and files.

So, just include files but skip user and system library folders, maybe instead maintain notes on how the setup is for the next time?

Well, I don’t see a general issue with restoring my files from Kopia, in case I should encounter a total desaster regarding my account or my MBP. I usually exclude all caches and some other things, that are either transient or I am only too lazy to tidy up myself, like the downloads folder.

In that regard, this is my litte list of folders I am excluding in Kopia:


Should I ever need to restore my account, I’d restore my latest snapshot to a new folder, login as another admin on my Mac and simply swap the newly created home folder with the restored one, adjust the permissions and login.

The issue is not so much ~/Library as it is /Library, those two have a different set of files and quite a different level of “importance”. Same probably goes for /Applications of which MacOS people have one in their home accounts too. And as I wrote, getting a new keychain makes some parts of the migration to a new (or newly reinstalled) machine tedious, since most users problem is not in how to reinstall Chrome, but rather how to bring along the pre-approved internal certs or the secrets Chrome stashed in your personal keychain on the old box.

Yeah, I can relate to that. Thank god, we do have a MDM and Managed Installs (Munki tools) for those files outside the user home folder. As such, for me it’s actually only to restore my home folder and grab the apps I need from our internal app store. Did that a couple of times since macOS 10.x

Hey all,

I’m excited to start using Kopia…had issues over the years with others and for the past couple of years have just been using rclone sync, but I’m keen for something that ‘just works’
I’d like to know what files to exclude, snapshot policies, compression settings…
I realise it’s all customisable, which is great, but would love a ‘starter kit’ / hear what others do.

I’m creating an hourly snapshot of /users/<username>, using the default snapshot retention settings and using zstd-fastest compression, as I think I saw someone post that on a thread somewhere.

I’ve excluded;


And then another snapshot of /users/Downloads, with zstd-fastest and snapshot retention of 3 months and 0 Annual.

I would never restore apps, just user files. I’m thinking there must be a whole lot more hidden system files, but I’m also wondering about the Trash…how do I exclude that.