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Reviews and expert opinionAcronis

Madeleine BateMadeleine BateExpert

Acronis True Image 2021 has reached new and impressive levels of versatility and security. Beyond that, its full range of features sets it apart from the competition. However, its high price tag puts it out of reach for many users.

Overview

An All-in-One Solution… But Be Sure to Read the Fine Print

Acronis True Image 2021 Overview
Acronis simplifies protection for your devices with True Image 2021

At first glance, this product seems to have it all and, for the most part, that impression holds up. Acronis True Image 2021 is a one-stop solution for online backups and strong cybersecurity.

As a backup service, it offers backups for mobile devices, external drives, and social media, plus it has syncing and sharing options. As a cybersecurity solution, it offers real-time protection from malware that can harm your system, applications, or data.

Acronis is arguably the most powerful backup-as-a-service on the market today.But due to its high price, it may not be suitable for personal users who won’t need all of its features. On the other hand, power users and small-business owners may find that it’s the answer to their hefty backup demands.

Also, Mac users beware: There are quite a few discrepancies between what you get when using the service on a Windows versus a Mac. As a Mac user myself, I was disappointed to learn that I can’t utilize Acronis’ backup validation or web filtering options.

Before you go running (or clicking) to purchase the software for yourself, consider a few things: Do you need high-level security? What kinds of files will you be backing up? How much storage do you need? What type of device are you using? Are you backing up one or multiple devices?

I sifted through all the sales copy and tested the service myself to help you make the best decision for you.

Features

4.7

Beyond Your Average Online Backup Software

Acronis True Image Features
These are just a few of many useful features offered by Acronis

Acronis True Image has three tiers for its subscription plans – Essential, Advanced, and Premium and within each tier you can choose how many devices you want to back up. Essential offers only local and network backups, along with ransomware protection.

If you’re looking for cloud backup, you’ll need to select one of the higher tiers. The higher tiers offerfull antimalware protection, blockchain notarization, and file syncing and sharing across PCs.

I opted for the Advanced plan for one device, which covers my MacBook Air and my phone. Let’s take a closer look at the most important feature categories.

Data Server LocationsSt. Louis, Dallas, Ashburn, and Phoenix, US; Vancouver, Canada; London, UK; Strasbourg, France; Frankfurt am Main and Cologne, Germany; Lupfig, Switzerland; Singapore; Nagano, Japan; Sydney, Australia; Auckland, New Zealand
Backup and Restore OptionsContinuous and scheduled backups, backup from external drive, idle backups, backup status reports, offline backup option, offline restore option (via USB external or NAS drive), mirror image backup
Limits and RestrictionsNo limits on file size or type; fair use limits; no bandwidth throttling
Applications and Operating SystemsWindows, MacOS; iOS and Android mobile apps
Encryption KeysEnterprise-grade AES-256 encryption, optional private encryption key
File AccessVia web, desktop, and mobile apps; multi-device syncing (Windows only)
File Sharing (Advanced and Premium plans only; Windows only)

Backups

With Acronis’ backup software, you can protect everything on your device, from files to applications to your entire system. You can back up manually or set a recurring schedule for as often as you like.

Acronis True Image 2021's backup scheduling tool
If you prefer to manually back up your data, simply select Do not schedule

You can also have backups run nonstop, meaning the program will back up a file whenever you make changes to it. No matter which schedule you choose, your backup will continue even after you exit the application and when your computer is idle.

If you shut your computer down, your backup will resume once it’s powered on and connected to the internet, meaning your data will not be duplicated.

File Type Restrictions

Acronis True Image 2021 does not place restrictions on file types. However, Windows and Mac versions support a different set of file systems. Windows supports NTFS, Ext2/Ext3/Ext4, ReiserFS(3), Linux SWAP, HFS+/HFSX, and FAT16/32/exFAT systems. Apple supports APFS, HFS+, FAT32, and NTFS systems.

In other words, the file system applies to the disk, not the file type. If your disk has a supported file system, all the files inside the disk will be backed up, regardless of the file type.

Cloud Backups and Cloning

With Advanced and Premium plans, you have the added security of cloud backup, which gives you an off-site copy of your data available for recovery.

If you’re planning to change devices, you can clone your entire disk and easily migrate all of your data to a new computer. If you only want to back up certain files, Acronis allows you to initiate minor backups of folders or even individual files.

Restoring Data

Acronis lets you keep up to 999 versions of your backup, and you can decide how long to keep each.You won’t get this with many other online backup service providers. You also have different file-restoration options. Don’t need to restore your whole drive? No problem; simply select the individual files and folders you’d like to recover.

On Windows devices, you can easily restore your entire system to another device with theUniversal Restore feature. Unfortunately, this is not an option for Mac users, but True Image does simplify Mac restores. More on this in the Support section.

With the Acronis Survival Kit, True Image goes beyond a full system backup and provides everything you need to restore your system, including boot media.

Security

Acronis offers protection in real time by checking every file you interact with as you interact with it. You can also run antivirus scans either on-demand or as an automation. A vulnerability assessment runs daily in the background to detect any weaknesses that might be in your system or apps.

You can encrypt your backed-up data (either computer or mobile) kept in Acronis Cloud using government-grade AES-256 encryption. Gain further protection by setting a private encryption key, which ensures that even Acronis can’t read your data. If you go this route, be warned: Under no circumstances will Acronis be able to retrieve your password for you, so don’t lose it!

You can be equally assured that your data is secure in Acronis’ physical data centers. Each location includes on-site protections such as armed guards, 24/7 video surveillance, and biometric access.

Interestingly, Acronis True Image does not support two-factor authentication for account sign-ins. Another vulnerability I found is that there’s no option to password protect shared files.See full list of features

Ease of use

4.6

An Intuitive Interface Makes for a Straightforward User Experience

The Acronis user interface is excellent, whether you’re using the desktop app, mobile app, or browser extension. The desktop app is crisp and modern, and it provides easy-to-follow steps to set up and utilize each of its features.

Acronis’ File sync and share allows Windows users to sync files between computers or the cloud and enables you to back up files in real time as you work on them.Try and decide lets you safely test certain Acronis features before committing to them. Sadly, these two features are also not available for Mac users.

Let’s take a closer look at some of Acronis’ key ease-of-use features.

Monitor Everything at a Glance

The desktop app allows you to monitor all of your backup activity, data statistics, and cybersecurity metrics for all your devices via the intuitive online dashboard.

Acronis True Image 2021 Backup Dashboard
It’s easy to check backup status, activity, and recoveries from the dashboard

You can also enable push notifications to your desktop tray, which is helpful if, like me, you want to keep on top of everything going on in your system.

Looking for an overview of your products and devices? Head to the Account tab and click Open Online Dashboard to view your account in your browser. Here you can renew your annual plan, see how much storage you have left, upgrade, purchase new products, and add or remove devices.

Acronis True Image 2021 Online Dashboard.
Acronis’s online dashboard is less instinctual than the desktop app, but it gets the job done

Free Up Valuable Space with Archive

One of my favorite features in Acronis True Image is Archive. You can free up disk space on your computer by moving files to the cloud or a local drive. It’s perfect for large or rarely used files that you want to keep but don’t need to access often. You can encrypt this data, too, for extra protection.

Back Up Your Mobile Data Anytime, Anywhere

The mobile app is also well-designed and easy to use. Use it to back up your mobile data to your computer or the cloud or to browse the contents of all your backups and archives. And if you decide to switch phone teams, you can easily migrate your data from an iOS device to Android or vice versa.

Acronis True Image 2021 mobile interface.
Isn’t it satisfying when your mobile and desktop apps work seamlessly together?

On the iPhone app, you’re able to view thumbnails of your files prior to download. This is not possible on the Android app and a top complaint among users in this camp.

Setting Up an Account

As far as signup and install processes go, Acronis True Image is quite standard. Just download the desktop app, enter your serial number, and sign in. If you don’t already have an account prior to download, you can set one up from the app.

Acronis offers a Quick Start Guide when you open the app for the first time.It takes you through some of the basics of setting up your first backup, antivirus scan, etc. Make sure you grant security access to Acronis so that everything works properly.

Setting up a backup is easy. Simply click the + Add Backup button at the bottom left of your screen, select your source (the folders, files, or system you want to back up), and select a destination (where you’d like to house your data, such as the Acronis Cloud or an external drive).

Acronis True Image 2021 adding a new backup.
When you create a new backup, you can name it whatever you’d like

Acronis gives you a lot of flexibility in scheduling your backups – choose from daily, weekly, monthly, or nonstop. It even gives you an event-based option, which begins a backup once an external device is connected.

You can similarly schedule antivirus scans, with the added option of initiating a scan each time you start up your computer.

You also have choices in how Acronis handles suspicious files. Acronis can either notify you about a questionable file or immediately place it in quarantine, which isolates potential threats.

Acronis True Image 2021 scanning options.
I like that True Image has a lot of protection and antivirus options

If you want to pause your protection altogether, you can do so in one click.See if Acronis is Right for You

Performance

4.8

Acronis’ Speed and Simplicity Continue to Impress

To test Acronis True Image, I backed up a test folder holding 2.76GB of files. I uploaded it to the Acronis Cloud, deleted the folder from my desktop (and emptied my trash), and then restored the entire folder to the original location, twice. Note that you have the option to restore to a new location.

I’m based in Melbourne, Australia and, lucky for me, Acronis has a data center in Sydney. This is not too surprising, since Acronis has so many around the globe. My typical download and upload speeds are 26.12Mbps and 4.75Mbps, respectively.

I ran my firstfull backup at 1:00 p.m. on a Tuesday, and it took exactly 2 hours. Recovery was simple and required only a few clicks. It took 30 minutes to recover my files.

Acronis True Image 2021 folder recovery.
You can preserve file permissions and/or overwrite existing files by clicking the Options button

I ran a second test using the same folder, with slightly faster results. This test started at 8:30 a.m. on a Monday and took 1 hour and 37 minutes. Recovery took 16 minutes.

Compared to other backup services, such as iDrive, these performance speeds are middle of the road, though that could be partially due to my slow-ish upload speeds.

Acronis True Image 2021 conducting a backup.
I recommend backing up at various times to see what works best for you

The mobile backup was just as easy, though there are a few more steps. I chose to back up my photos and contacts to my Mac, rather than the cloud. To do this, you need to be near your desktop, as you’re required to scan a QR code.

Acronis True Image 2021 mobile backup.
The benefit of backing up to the cloud is that you can be anywhere

The test files were 112.88GB, and the backup took 15 hours and 17 minutes, which is understandable given the large size. I didn’t notice any other functions on my phone slowing down during the backup. And I was able to close out the app without interrupting the process.Check Out Acronis Performance

Privacy

4.9

Acronis Makes Your Privacy a Priority

Acronis details how it ensures your privacy in its extensive privacy statement. The statement covers everything from where it applies to the collection and protection of your private information to children’s privacy and more.

Acronis will collect and process only the data that is necessary for the company to function and provide its service effectively. You can always find out what data is kept about you by contacting Acronis directly.

Acronis reserves the right to share your personal data with its affiliates, vendors, resellers, and corporations if involved in a merger or other change of ownership or control. It always will ensure these entities agree to keep your information safe.

In countries where Acronis servers are located, the local government may have the right to access personal data stored within their jurisdictions upon terms and conditions provided by local law.It also reserves the right to share your personal data if it is suspected of containing prohibited content.

If Acronis deems it necessary, the company will share personal data with law enforcement bodies, regulatory and government agencies, courts, or other third parties. When reasonably possible, it will give you notice of any requested disclosure.See Acronis Privacy Features

Support

3.9

Online Tutorials Help Make Up for Inconsistent Customer Support

No matter where you are in the world, you can reach customer support by instant chat or submitting a ticket. If you live in the US, Canada, the UK, Belgium, Singapore, or Australia, you have the option of phone support. Acronis also has an archive of help articles and a user-run forum.

As someone who worked in the hospitality industry for nearly ten years, I take customer service pretty seriously. My first encounter with Acronis’ customer support was quite bad, but it got better. Let me walk you through what happened.

I used instant chat to ask about Universal Restore for Mac, but first I had to fill out a form. While the website states that instant chat is 24/7, I was told it was unavailable and was asked to submit a ticket instead. I got an email acknowledging my request, but it didn’t say how long it would take for an agent to get back to me. When I did hear back, the agent was not very helpful and, frankly, a little rude.

I decided to give instant chat another chance, hoping to get a friendlier agent this time. Thankfully, the second agent was polite, helpful, and efficient.

My conversation with my second Acronis Customer Service agent.
My query was resolved in under 15 minutes!

Acronis users seem to agree that live support can be quite inconsistent. However, the company’s knowledge base and community forum can often help solve any issues you might have.

Pricing

3.8

Expensive and Complicated Pricing Turns Some Customers Off

One of the main complaints about Acronis is its pricing structure. What should be simple is made frustratingly complicated by tiers within tiers of pricing. And no matter which plan you select, you’re going to be paying a premium compared to other services on the market.

Acronis True Image offers three plans: Essential, Advanced, and Premium. But within each plan is the option to back up one, three, or five computers, each for an additional fee.At least you can back up unlimited mobile devices with any plan!

Acronis True Image pricing tiers
Acronis may be the only online-backup service that structures their pricing like this

Essential provides only the bare bones of the company’s services. With Advanced, you get 500GB of cloud storage and antimalware protection. Premium comes with all that, plus up to 5TB of cloud storage across five computers and a few additional features. Acronis also has various options for business accounts.

If you don’t need all the features that Acronis offers, it can be difficult to justify paying for one of the higher tiers. Mac users are at an even greater disadvantage since key features are missing from the service.

When you buy a plan, you’ll pay through cleverbridge, an online reseller. You can select your currency and pay by Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, or JCB card. You’ll receive an order confirmation email first and a payment confirmation typically within an hour.

I ran into a bit of trouble when purchasing my plan, as both of my cards (Visa and Mastercard) got declined, though there was no reason on my end for that to happen. I contacted cleverbridge, and they responded within 24 hours and fixed the issue.

If you’re still not quite sure that Acronis is for you, you can try it free for 30 days – you don’t even need to provide your credit card information. This comes with a cloud trial, plus antimalware.

User reviews

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Acronis REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

There’s no denying that Acronis True Image 2021 is a powerhouse in the online backup game. Its extensive features and cybersecurity make it a fantastic choice for power users and small businesses. But for personal users who don’t need all the extras, True Image 2021 may not be worth the high price tag.

Mac users might also think twice before paying full price for an incomplete service, although it could be worth reaching out to Acronis to see if they can offer a discount.

Overall, I would recommend the service due to its speed, security, and versatility. However, it’s up to you to consider what your needs are and if you’re willing to fork out the extra cash each year for the level of functionality Acronis offers. If Acronis isn’t for you, then alternatives like iDrive and Backblaze are worth checking out.

FAQ

Is there a difference between online backup and cloud storage?Yes, there is. Cloud backup, or online backup, is specifically designed to make copies of your files and ensure their safety in case of damage or loss. It also offers an easy way to restore your files. Cloud storage, on the other hand, is designed to supplement your hard drive space and create a gateway to access information from anywhere.When should you use cloud storage?Cloud storage is good for anyone who has a lot of files that need safe keeping and/or they need to free up space on their hard drive. It’s also useful for businesses that have a significant need for collaboration on files.Does Acronis True Image have unlimited storage?No, the largest storage plan offered by Acronis True Image is for 5TB across five computers. If you’re looking for a cloud backup provider with unlimited storage, Backblaze is one of our top recommendations.
How is Acronis True Image better than iCloud or Google Drive?Acronis True Image not only offers the cloud storage and file syncing and sharing of iCloud and Google Drive, but it also provides a full backup of your computer. Other benefits include full antimalware protection, blockchain notarization, a private encryption key, and more.

Madeleine BateMadeleine Bate
Madeleine Bate is a freelance creative professional specializing in content writing, digital marketing, and project management. She has written on a wide array of topics including organizational health, social media trends, and travel and is not known to shy away from a new challenge. When she’s not researching an unfamiliar subject, writing articles, or working on client projects, you can find her reading, spending time outdoors, listening to live music, or planning her next trip.

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