Verifying Backups

Hopefully, most people have seen the light and are running some type of backup and/or backups of their Macs. Backups are crucial in our workflow, but there is a problem here. As far as backups go, most people “set it and forget.” Have you ever had a backup copy of a file or a whole backup become corrupted? I sure have and it is not fun. So, it is a good idea to “Verify” your backup from time to time.

Preparing For Backups

Verifying any backups you have is a good idea. I am not sure how often you may wish to do this, but at least quarterly (every 3 months) would not be unreasonable. You can set it in your calendar as a reminder.

There are several steps to ensuring healthy backups. This probably goes without saying, but making sure the original source material (the stuff on your Mac hard drive) is not corrupted. You can do this by running the Disk Utility App on your hard drive. If you have a smart utility app it will monitor your drives and warn you if a drive is failing. You can also run an App like Diskwarrior which not only checks your System Files, but all your files and folders for corruption. I cannot recommend an App like Diskwarrior enough, it is invaluable. Here is its Directory window check:


Here is the Files and Folders window check:

Files and Folders

And, here is the Hardware check for Smart Utility:

Hardware Check

The whole idea is “garbage in, garbage out.” If your files and folders are clean, then there is a much better chance of your backup not having any corruption. By the way, if you have a whole clone of your machine, then by all means boot up to the clone once in a while to see if it is “bootable” and see if stuff works.

Verification Process

If you use the macOS Time Machine App for your backups, you can get it to Verify quite easily. All you have to do is click on the Time Machine icon in the menubar and choose “Verify Backups:”

Time Machine Verify

The Time Machine App will proceed to do a verification of your regular backup.

If you are using a third party App like Chronosync to backup, it will probably have some type of verification or validation feature. In Chronosync all you have to do is open the backup file and click on Validate:


You will be taken to this drop down”

Validate Drop Down

It shows you what it is going to do. When you click Validate, it goes into the validation process:

Validation Running

Now, you must keep something in mind. Usually, the validation or verification process takes quite a bit of time depending on the size of the backup, your network speed and the speed of the backup hardware. If your backup file is large, my suggestion is to do this while you are not on your Mac and let it run.

Besides Time Machine, I have used other third party backup Apps over the years. Most of them had some type of verification feature.


The bottomline is this is your data! Having a backup is great, but it is not a bad idea to verify your backup every few months. Our files can get corrupted for whatever reason, that means the corrupted files are backed up.