What is the best way to backup an Apple family to Synology?

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What is the best way to backup an Apple family to Synology?

DS220+, DS918+, RS1219+
Operating system
  1. Windows
Mobile operating system
  1. Android
I've asked versions of this question before, but I want to narrow in on the apple-specific side of things. What is the method for backing up my dad's network of mac laptops, ipads, and iphones? We are moving all of his data and photo storage off the icloud onto his NAS if possible. I had initially planned on using Time Machine, but some discussions in previous threads have lead me to believe the Time Machine isn't really a true backup? Is this accurate, I know almost nothing about Apple? If Time Machine isn't really a good backup in the same sense that AB4B is, what solution should I be using? I've seen iMazing mentioned as a solution, is iMazing equivalent to AB4B on the PC side?

Dad is very used to the whole Apple environment, so I'm hoping to find a solution that is as much all-in-one as possible for his device backup. I'm basically looking for an icloud-like experience without the icloud.

Once the data is pulled off of his devices onto the NAS, I'll then use something like Snapshot Replication to backup that info to a second volume as well as an off-site NAS. I have read that this is not so easy to do with Time Machine, and so I'm hoping that whatever device backup solution is proposed can then have its files backup via Snapshot Replication.
I'm in no way saying this is the best way - just what I do for on premises:

- iPhones & iPads backup via wifi to a Mac (Apple native tool only)
- All Macs, including the one with iOS backups go to main NAS (SHR1 Volume 1) via Time Machine
- Main NAS Volume 1 backups to main NAS Volume 2 (single HDD) twice a week via Hyper Backup
- Main NAS Volume 1 backups to secondary NAS Volume 3 (single HDD) once a week via Hyper Backup
- Main NAS Volume 1 backups to secondary NAS Volume 4 (single HDD) once a week via Hyper Backup
- Secondary NAS backups (single HDD) get rotated out every other month and air-gapped

So currently nothing beyond native Apple or native Synology backup tools (plus snapshots).
Until later this year we hopefully finally get the promised ABB for macos, TM is still your best bet for file level backup. On top of that you could acronis the whole thing onto a nas as well.

When it comes to ios elements, well again a bit of hit and miss there as well. Already threads on the forum about that, but I think that Photos will eventually be a cover it all solution when it comes to images, videos and the likes.
I'm seeing 2 scenarios, each with questions:

1. Time Machine Backup to onsite Vol1 & Vol2 (duplicate onsite backups) plus Time Machine backup to offsite Vol3. Is it possible to have multiple TM backup destinations? Can one of the destinations be offsite?

2. Time Machine backup to onsite Vol1. S/R backups of Vol1 TM data to Vol2 & Vol3. This method would be best in that it'd push most of the backup workload onto the NAS instead of the laptop. Will S/R work to backup the TM data from Vol1? I know we have to use S/R to backup AB4B data instead of using Hyperbackup, I didn't know if there are any similar concerns with S/R and TM?
my way of doing this is slightly different:
macs typically do not store data at all, all data is on the nas, and backup is nas to another nas and idrive.
mobile devices: i do use the synology apps to backup to the nas (DS photo, DS File)
and last but not least: idrive is used to backup the mobile devices to the cloud. Very conveniënt apps.
On the 1st of each month I use iMazing on my PC for my iPad and our two iPhones, although I have to admit for the moment they are not currently going to the NAS; they will do shortly and it is quite simple to change storage location. iMazing is very quick and takes about 1-2 minutes per device. I have Acronis, but I only use that for PC backups, which does go to the NAS, and have not used it for the iOS devices. There is also a backup application called Transmac.

One aspect to be aware of: I don't think anything does a *total* backup. It is worth reading About backups for iPhone, iPad

Quoting from the above link:

iCloud backups​

With a Wi-Fi network connection, you can make a backup of your device using iCloud. You don’t need to plug your device into a computer or even be at home to back up with iCloud.
iCloud backups include nearly all data and settings stored on your device. iCloud backups don't include:
  • Data that's already stored in iCloud, such as Contacts, Calendars, Notes, iCloud Photos, iMessages, Voice Memos, text (SMS) and multimedia (MMS) messages, and Health data
  • Data stored in other cloud services, such as Gmail and Exchange mail
  • Apple Mail data
  • Apple Pay information and settings
  • Face ID or Touch ID settings
  • iCloud Music Library and App Store content (if it's still available in the iTunes, App or Apple Books store, you can tap to re-download your already purchased content).
Learn how to make an iCloud backup or how to manage iCloud storage and delete backups that you no longer need.
When you use Messages in iCloud, Health data on iOS 12 or later, or Voice Memos, your content is stored in iCloud automatically. If you turn on iCloud Photos, your content is also stored in iCloud automatically.

Backups from your computer​

A computer backup of your device, which is not the same as a sync, includes almost all of your device's data and settings. A backup from a computer doesn't include:
  • Content from the iTunes and App Stores, or PDFs downloaded directly to Apple Books
  • Content synced from Finder or iTunes, such as imported MP3s or CDs, videos, books, and photos
  • Data already stored in iCloud, such as iCloud Photos, iMessages, and text (SMS) and multimedia (MMS) messages
  • Face ID or Touch ID settings
  • Apple Pay information and settings
  • Apple Mail data
  • Activity, Health and Keychain data (to back up this content, you'll need to use Encrypted Backup in iTunes).
( Text quoted from the link above has at the end 'Published Date: June 24, 2020')
My approach differs somewhat too.

I've never been embedded in the iCloud backup approach for iDevice as I was using iTunes on Mac for years before it was around. I also prefer to have that backup within my control. Having said that, I never found iTune WiFi backup/sync to be reliable. So: iDevices backup to local Mac (or could be a PC) wirelessly on schedule using iMazing. This has been a great change to iTunes and something I picked up on at SynoForum.

As for Macs:
  • Time Machine to the old DS215j... because it's there and would be collecting dust. I don't backup this NAS, not the data. For me Time Machine has only been of very occasional use to recover a file version... maybe a yearly event.
  • My main Mac backup system is to run CCC v5:
    • Boot/system disks get cloned to a local external USB3 drive (was Firewire 400/800). The advantage is the the Mac can be booted from the external clone so it is easy to recover should something go wrong.
      • Cloning to a network share (whether a NAS or USB on another MAC) will not be bootable as CCC uses a disk image to store the data when backing up over a network.
    • External data drives get cloned to either other external drives or to a NAS shared folder.
    • While clones are direct copies of the drives being backed up there is the SafetyNet feature that uses spare space on the destination to retain the old file versions. I use this feature.
I'm interested in the ABB solution for Mac when it happens as this will probably takeover from some of my approach.
ABB for macOS will hopefully change a few things for me too, if and when it comes out.

Oh and if Synology keep it maintained.
Agree with both points. I do think that update will not be an issue in this case. They have a lot riding on ABB packages (just like Surveillance one as well) so I have no fear that ABB and covered platforms will be up to date.
For me:
Laptops and desktops have anything worth keeping stored on the DS, I don’t back them up. The DS is backed up to other locations (remote DiskStations).

For iOS/iPadOS devices, I use iMazing running on a Mac to back them up to the DS.
I'm a software architect, semi-retired into IT in a commercial Win environment. I have been using Veeam Endpoint Backup (free) for years. (There's a mac version). This product can do a bare-metal backup - and helps you create a boot USB so you can do a full recovery. BTW/FWIW Veeam also has all sorts of handy stuff if you're using a number of virtual machines. Those are not free, but IMO very much worth the price.
Backups are in inverse-incremental, so, for 14 days backup, maybe 150% of total storage on the machine being backed up.

A major attraction for me is that is can use a different username/password combination to attach to backup storage. This is important if your user gets hit with ransomware (ransomware runs as the user, and, if you've done it right, they'll only have r/o access to backups. They can recover files they've deleted or mucked up without bothering you - and ransomware can't scribble on backups.
We haven't been hit by ransomware since I set this up, but I have done a number of bare-metal restores, and they've all gone fine.
From there, backups get hyper-backed-up to a synology box in a different office, and every quarter, those backups get shipped to Glacier to keep the SEC happy (financial offices).

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