The most common complaint we’ve heard about the Backblaze Internet backup service is that it maintains old versions of files and deleted files for only 30 days. The current versions of files on your computer remain backed up indefinitely, but if you need to recover an older version of a file or a deleted file, you have to realize within a month of the file being modified or deleted.
We’ve never considered this limitation to be all that concerning. In our recommended backup strategy, you would have a bootable duplicate for getting back to work quickly after a disaster and system migration, a Time Machine backup for versioned backups that also provides a secondary option for system migration, and a Backblaze backup for off-site protection and a secondary versioned backup. To run afoul of the 30-day limitation, you’d need to delete or corrupt a file, not realize for over a month, and suffer from some sort of a Time Machine failure. That’s not inconceivable, but nor is it likely.
Extended Version History
Regardless, if you’ve been perturbed by the loss of old versions and deleted files in your Backblaze backups, you can now increase the length of time Backblaze retains those versions.
Starting with version 7.0 of the Backblaze software, you can pay an additional monthly fee for either 1 year of version history or pay more per month plus storage costs for what Backblaze is calling Forever Version History. The pricing is:
- 30-Day Version History: Included with your Backblaze account, which costs $6 per month, $60 per year, or $110 for 2 years.
- 1-Year Version History: Pay an additional $2 per month to retain old versions or deleted files for 1 year after they were last modified.
- Forever Version History: Pay an additional $2 per month plus $0.005 per gigabyte per month for versions modified or deleted more than a year ago. This service maintains old versions and deleted files forever.
To upgrade, first make sure you’re running Backblaze 7.0. Choose Check for Updates from the Backblaze icon in the menu bar. If Backblaze hasn’t already updated itself, it will prompt you to download the new installer (which you can also get in exactly the same way with a direct download).
Once you’ve updated Backblaze on your Mac, log into your account on Backblaze’s Web site, and in the Overview screen, click the Upgrade link next to Version History and choose a new plan.
The $2 per month fee is charged based on your current license type (monthly, yearly, or 2-year) and is prorated to match your license renewal date. For more nitpicky details, see Backblaze’s FAQ.
Charging extra for maintaining old versions and deleted files for longer seems entirely reasonable. For some users, the storage requirements could be significant, and Backblaze has said repeatedly that its primary business challenge is dealing with the amount of data being backed up increasing faster than the cost of storage drops. This approach lets those who want the added peace of mind pay for it, while keeping prices low for everyone else.
Catalina Support and Other Enhancements
The Backblaze 7.0 software also provides support for macOS 10.15 Catalina, so if you’re upgrading to Catalina, you’ll want to download the new version right away. Since Backblaze restores only files, not a complete system, the previous version probably wasn’t running into issues with Catalina’s read-only system volume anyway. However, Catalina does require apps to ask for permission a lot more frequently, and since Backblaze needs access to all your files, you’ll notice more such requests when installing Backblaze in Catalina.
The other notable change in Backblaze 7.0 is an increase in the maximum packet size from 30 MB to 100 MB. This change reportedly allows the app to transmit data more efficiently by better leveraging threading, and it also smooths out upload performance, reduces sensitivity to latency, and leads to smaller data structures. I’ve never noticed Backblaze slowing down my Mac or Internet connection, but increased efficiency and performance are always welcome.