It's a pretty bold statement, right?

This week I got a new Macbook for work, and as I've been using a Mac before, I had to make a decision: Do I install a backup from my previous Mac, or am I starting with zero apps and data pre-installed.

After putting some thoughts into the topic of loading a backup or not, I decided to give my Macbook a fresh start.

And so far, I'm pleasantly surprised on how great the experience is.

That's why I decided to provide you with this list of apps, and systems, I used (and still use) which prevented me from loading a backup.

The basics

Don't get me wrong. Backups are important. I'm always having a backup running on an external hard disk drive, and I recommend everyone to regularly backup his/her computer. Just do it, people.

However, with most modern tools and systems (thank you cloud services), we do not rely that much on backups.

If you use these apps, you don't need to load your backup.

The following tools and systems helped me to setup my new Macbook in a short and easy way.

I hope this blog post helps you to improve your data security, backup systems, and app usage.

1. Cloud storage: Google Drive and/or Dropbox

This is real basic. And chances are high that you're already storing your data in the cloud. With Google Drive, Dropbox, or other data storage services around, our data is securely synced to the cloud.

And it's fantastic. No need to worry that your data gets deleted or lost (except the service provider of your choice messes things up ;)).

A little side story here: In a Reply All podcast episode, Rachel tells her story on how she lost all her pictures because she used a cloud storage (and a cloud storage only) to sync and store all her pictures. Then the provider messed the data and all pictures were gone.

So which cloud storage provider to choose? Well, there are so many around that you should choose the best fit for you.

I use Google Drive for work, Dropbox for all personal data, and iCloud for some Apple stuff (like Notes, Keynote, etc.).

Besides the mentioned ones, you can check out Microsoft's OneDrive, or SecureSafe (if you only trust Swiss people 😉)

2. Password Manager: 1Password

There are various, obvious reasons why a password manager is great. I also wrote this article a while ago on how we use 1Password at work.

I also rely pretty heavily on 1Password for everything off work.


After setting up a new device of mine, 1Password is the first app I install. It's the central place to store login data, passwords, secure notes, license keys and a lot more stuff.

I use a paid version of 1Password (it's 2,99 USD / month) and it's absolutely worth the money. It perfectly syncs my password among my devices (mainly iPhone & PC) and it allows me to get started with new devices pretty quickly.

Some further reasons I love having a password manager:

  • You can generate passwords which are safe.
  • A password manager not only stores passwords but a whole lot more. Like secure notes, software licenses, documents and way more.

My only advice here: Folks, go and install a password manager.

3. App Store

So you might think: OK, I'll have my data and passwords synced with the mentioned tools, but what should I do with all my programs I've installed on my old Mac?

Well, luckily iCould and Apple's App Store are your friend. If you installed and purchased programs through the official App Store, your programs are just a click away.

You only need to open up the App Store program, go to the "purchased" section, and install the apps you purchased and/or installed on your old device.

app store

It's as easy as it sounds.

And what about other programs & apps?

Personally, I was quite surprised to see that most apps which I haven't bought in the App Store, can easily be installed anyway. In my case, I only had to install the following apps by hand (as I haven't bought/installed them through the App Store):

  • Atom (code editor)
  • (sales app)
  • CloudApp (screenshot tool)
  • Docker (which I need for work)
  • Google Chrome & Firefox (ok, you know those two)
  • Franz (a messaging curating app)
  • Github
  • Sketch (my design tool of my choice)
  • Spotify

So 10 apps in total. That's not a lot I guess.

And the best part: most of them are free anyway, and for all others, I have my license key stored in my password manager.

Anything else?

I expected it to be complicated. Or at least time-consuming. However, I haven't thought that it's that easy. Luckily, we made quite some progress in technology, and things got a bit more user-friendly. At least on the Apple side of the computer world (I'm sorry that I can't speak for Microsoft since I haven't set up a new PC in the last few years).

PS: Don't forget to backup your computer.