Is it better to clone my hard drive or use time machine?


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My internal hard drive seems to be failing and I have an SSD that I want to set up. I was wondering if it's better to use a clone software and clone my drive onto the new SSD, or use time machine (if using TM is possible)? My issue with the cloning software is the payment. If I can use time machine, I'd rather use that.
 
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My internal hard drive seems to be failing and I have an SSD that I want to set up. I was wondering if it's better to use a clone software and clone my drive onto the new SSD, or use time machine (if using TM is possible)? My issue with the cloning software is the payment. If I can use time machine, I'd rather use that.
Time Machine.
 
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My internal hard drive seems to be failing and I have an SSD that I want to set up. I was wondering if it's better to use a clone software and clone my drive onto the new SSD, or use time machine (if using TM is possible)? My issue with the cloning software is the payment. If I can use time machine, I'd rather use that.
Before making suggestions, we need to know your Mac make and model (“model identifier” provided by About This Mac -> System Report… -> Hardware Overview will provide this information). Is the internal drive in your Mac replaceable (i.e., can your new SSD replace the original drive internally?). Do you have enough external connectors for Time Machine drive(s)?

What version of macOS are you running?
 
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Both are good, but what I like about a clone is that you can run your machine off of the clone. If your disk goes south, you replace the disk, restore with Time Machine, and THEN you're back in business. With a clone, you're back in business RIGHT NOW. That being said, Apple is allegedly making changes that prevent running exclusively off a clone. That is, your internal disk has to be functional in order to do it. Not optimal. Of course, with Time Machine, you have a finely tuned record of mods to your disk. This might be handy.
 
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I should add that clones back up EVERYTHING - operating system, data, etc. Time Machine just backs up personal data and apps. If you have to do a System Recovery (which, coincidentally, I just had to do this morning!), Time Machine would replace your data, but it appears that the OS is replaced by whatever is newest, whether you want it or not. That is, you aren't offered the option of replacing the OS you originally had. So a clone really gets you completely back to where you were.
 

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