A short intro to RsyncOSX

This page is a short intro to RsyncOSX and a brief walkthrough of the main functions. For more details about the various functions of RsyncOSX please see the documentation about each function. Also be sure you understand the basics about how rsync works before using RsyncOSX and rsync.

For a quick view of some of the screens see sample of process.

All configurations to execute are listed in table. From the Execute view most actions (edit configurations, adding parameters to rsync, delete configurations) regarding configurations are executed.

Configurations can be saved in user selected profiles. The profile in use is shown in label Profile: profilname. Information about new or delete files and numbers remote of directories are only available if version 3.x of rsync is used.

It all starts with adding a configuration. There are also link to four short videos of RsyncOSX in bottom of this page.

Type of tasks

There are three types of how to synchronize source and destination (backup):

(1) synchronize source and backup location, any changed and deleted files in backup location will either be overwritten or deleted

  • this is the standard synchronize task in RsyncOSX, after execution source and destination (backup) is 100% in sync if there are no --exclude parameters to rsync
  • an --exclude parameter instructs rsync to disregard files, catalogs and patterns included in the parameter

(2) synchronize and save changed and deleted files in a separate backup catalog by adding a parameters to rsync

(3) snapshot tasks, a snapshot of previous synchronize task is stored before a new task is executed, number of snapshots are user defined, copy deleted or previous versions of files from snapshots

How to execute any of the three type of tasks

There are seven ways to execute a task. And all tasks can be aborted at any time.

First select one task in Execute view, applies to (1) and (2) below.

(1) single task, a double click on a task executes first a test run (--dry-run), the next double click executes the real run

(2) ⌘R (execute one task now) - shortcut for immediate execute one selected task

  • selected task is executed in one go
  • if a task is executed by shortcut ⌘R, a select of another task during execution will terminate (abort) the current task

(3) ⌘B (execute all tasks now) - shortcut for automatic executing backups, the command automatically checks all tasks for files to be synchronized or deleted and automatically executes all tasks with files to be synchronized

(4) quick backup, either select the i or double arrow button in menu bar

  • select which tasks to execute in one go, selection is not saved
  • start with dynamic view of local vs remote storage, selecting tasks to execute automatically opens the quick backup menu with preselected tasks
  • see quick backup for more info

(5) mark backup tasks for batch, select the single arrow button executes all tasks marked for batch in one go

  • tasks which are marked for batch are selected
  • see batch task for more info

(6) schedule a task, scheduled tasks are executed according to date and time, either once, daily or weekly

(7) by combining rclone and rsync enable encrypted backups to remote servers

Restore files

Files and catalogs can be restored by using the copy single files or by executing a full restore.

Info about tasks

See info about caching of information.


RsyncOSX is logging all tasks. The user can choose in user configuration, to disable or enable detailed logging. Detailed logging is on as default. In log view all tasks with date, number of files and size transferred is logged. In the Execute view only date and time for last execution is set. Schedule See logging for more info.

Check remote servers

The red tasks indicates no connection to remote server. Selecting the TCP-button executes the check and marks configurations not available (no contact with remote server) red. RsyncOSX does a background check (informal only) for remote servers. The server freenas.local is a local NAS server (FreeNAS) and RsyncOSX does not find freenas.local outside my home and marks configurations red in table view. Execute view


Setting up password less logins is required to backup files to remote servers. RsyncoSX can assist in setting up password less logins. Execute view See ssh for more info.

Rsync errors

Sometimes rsync throws errors. RsyncOSX does a simple check in output if there are any occurrence of the words rsync error:. If found RsyncOSX resets the work queue. This is not an advanced error handling. Execute view

User configurations

Some configurations can be set on or off by the user. See user configuration for more info.

Rsync parameters

The user can pass any parameter to rsync or choose some predefined parameters. Execute view See rsync parameters for more info about user selected parameters and default parameters about default parameters.


RsyncOSX uses profiles. If not used all configurations are saved in the default profile. Which profile in use is labeled on left top of table. Double click on a profile name to select a profile.

In the profiles menu there are three options:

  • OK
    • name of new profile
  • Delete
    • select profile to be deleted
  • Default
    • selects the default profile.

Execute view

RsyncOSX configuration files

RsyncOSX configuration file, scheduled tasks which also includes log records and user configuration are plain XML-files (property list files). Files are saved in:

  • ~/Documents/Rsync/MacID/configRsync.plist - configurations
    • ~/ is user home directory
    • MacID is the Mac serial number and is automatically set by RsyncOSX
  • ~/Documents/Rsync/MacID/scheduleRsync.plist - scheduled tasks including log records
  • ~/Documents/Rsync/MacID/config.plist - user config

If profile is used:

  • ~/Documents/Rsync/MacID/profile/configRsync.plist
  • ~/Documents/Rsync/MacID/profile/scheduleRsync.plist
    • profile is the profile name
  • ~/Documents/Rsync/MacID/config.plist - user config

YouTube videos

There are four short YouTube videos of RsyncOSX:

  • getting RsyncOSX and installing it
    • the video also shows how to create the two local ssh certificates for password less logins to remote server
  • adding and executing the first backup
  • doing a full restore to a temporary local restore catalogs
  • how to change version of rsync utilized by RsyncOSX
Written on April 11, 2018