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CrashPlan Mobile Lets You Take Your Backups with You

Code 42 Software has released CrashPlan Mobile, a free iOS app that lets you access your CrashPlan Central backups with any iOS device. (A separate version for Android devices is also available.) If you back up your files in the way the app assumes, the effect can be almost magical: near-instant access to any backed-up file, from any of your computers that use CrashPlan, no matter where you are — and even if the computer itself is offline. I tested the app on my iPhone and iPad and it worked as advertised; I find it a highly useful addition to my existing methods for accessing data remotely.

This being version 1.0, CrashPlan Mobile lacks some important features many people would like to see, so you should set your expectations accordingly. (We understand that the company is hoping to add at least some of these features to future versions.)

  • This app is for CrashPlan+ users who back up their computers to CrashPlan Central, not for those who use only local or peer-to-peer backups.

  • It works only if you secure your backups with your account password (the default method); if you use a private password or private key for greater security, the app does you no good at present. (This should be obvious, but since your account password protects all your backed-up data, make sure it’s a strong password!)

  • You can access only the most recent versions of backed up files; older versions, or files that were deleted from your computer before your most recent backup, don’t show up in the app.

  • Although you can download any file and view common file formats such as text, PDF, and graphics, some data formats (including audio and video) can’t be viewed within CrashPlan Mobile.

  • The app is only a one-way conduit; it doesn’t let you back up files from your iOS device to CrashPlan Central.

Even with these limitations, though, it’s hard to complain. After all, CrashPlan Mobile is free, and it adds a powerful capability to my favorite online backup system. With time, it’s bound to become more useful still.


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Comments about CrashPlan Mobile Lets You Take Your Backups with You
(Comments are closed.)

Eric Ullman  2011-09-27 03:14
Regarding: "The app is only a one-way conduit; it doesn’t let you back up files from your iOS device to CrashPlan Central."

iOS API support for accessing the file system is fairly limited. I think this point is intended more for Apple than the good folks at Code 42. Especially given the reported low percentage of people who actually connect and sync their phones with their Mac or Windows PC, Apple's support for alternate or additional forms of iOS backup would be greatly appreciated.
Joe Kissell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-09-27 06:56
Right, although there's another dimension too. If you download a file to your iOS device with CrashPlan Mobile and then edit it locally, you might assume that the edited file will somehow make its way back to CrashPlan Central, but it won't.
kawika1968  2011-10-04 20:08
Does Apple's NEW iCloud serve as a reasonable back-up option?
Joe Kissell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-10-04 20:10
No, not for Macs. It will back up (most of) your iOS data, but there is no option to back up files from your Macs—nothing comparable to iDisk (which was itself not a great backup destination).
kawika1968  2011-10-04 20:22
Thanks for quick answer Joe. I have been looking at CrashPlan for months now and like it...a lot. I just wanted to bu sure I was not begin redundant by having both CrashPlan and iCloud in place. You have answered that form e. now. Thx!
kawika1968  2011-10-04 20:28
What about iDrive as a solution?.....
Joe Kissell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-10-04 20:30
Not remotely as good as CrashPlan. See my table of backup options at and read my book!