Today was spent reloading OS X 10.15.7 on my 2019 16″ MacBook Pro.
Not as big as the 2004 17″ Powerbook G4 I had years ago, but it’s much, much more powerful. Come to think of it, it’s probably not as big as the 14″ PowerBook G3 I had in the late 90’s either.
OS X allows you to just move all of your applications and data from machine to machine very easily — but this includes all of the cruft and oddities as well. So the assorted software flotsam in my laptop has been accumulating since I picked up the 15″ MacBook Pro in August of last year.
I’m also a systems engineer and a programmer, so the innards of my machines get an inordinate amount of poking and prodding, experimental drivers for things, and lots of python and java fragments to do things you’re not supposed to do — and this tends to slowly destabilize things over time… And then there’s Xcode, which does all manner of horrible things to the OS in the name of making iPhone apps…
All in all the complete wipe and OS reload, even over the congested wifi here at home, only took 20 minutes. Oh, that’s another thing; Mac recovery media resides on the internet, so you just hold down command-R on boot, the firmware connects to wifi/ethernet, and you’re off to the races.
The rest of the afternoon has been re-installing applications and getting texts on the phone to do the two-factor authentication for dozens of online accounts.
I make extensive use of Apple’s “iCloud” for backups and data retention, which means all of my browser sites, logins, and passwords were ready to go instantly, as well as all of my calendar and contact data. “iCloud Drive”, the data storage portion of the system wasn’t as finely polished and it took some pointy-hat terminal-wizardry to track down the sync processes, kill them and their data store, and get the sync working again… There was some sort of race condition with pending deletes on the server side and pending syncs on the client side. But the mountains of data that lives on my laptop were eventually restored in short order.
It’s nice having gigabit fiber here at the house when it comes time to shuffle an entire HD of data from point A to B.
My backup’s backup is on Backblaze just in case Apple fails me, but it wasn’t needed today…
So, the sum-total to wipe out and restore my entire life still takes about six hours, even here in the bright and shiny digital future. This basically proves that while processing and data speeds are insane now, so is the amount of data we tend to accumulate — so it balances out.