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Apple Safe Deposit Box could be built-in Carbonite for Macs

updated 08:25 pm EST, Sat February 19, 2011

Apple patents Safe Deposit Box for Mac OS X

Apple has quietly filed for a patent that could hint at Mac OS X Lion getting a built-in cloud backup feature. The app, labeled Safe Deposit Box in the patent, would at a minimum let users drag and drop files into an optionally encrypted space that would keep them safe without needing a whole-volume protection system like FileVault. Preferences, however, would let users not only keep a local copy but push it out to a "server bank or cloud storage" for off-site backup.

If users wanted, they could prioritize files through a rating system that would automatically determine what level of security and backup they get. Security would be relatively fine-grained as well. It could lock down files on a basic level with encryption, but it could also deliberately obfuscate the file name and only associate it with the original for the verified owner. Apple would give users a degree of flexibility over how long the Safe Deposit Box would stay open with a timeout monitor that could force users to login again after a set point in time.

As with most of its patents, Apple isn't necessarily going to use the technology, but its specificity as a Mac OS X app would imply it has been in active consideration. It was filed in August 2009, just as Apple was releasing Snow Leopard, and might be in time for the summer 2011 release of Lion.

The service could potentially obviate the need for cloud backup tools such as Carbonite on the Mac and would give Apple an edge over Microsoft. Users on Windows 7 have official tools such as SkyDrive but don't have a full OS-layer remote backup so far. [via Patently Apple]

by MacNN Staff




  1. legacyb4

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sounds almost like Dropbox...

    which most of us already have?

  1. mr100percent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iDisk or Dropbox

    Apple already has this in an unencrypted form with iDisk (in mirrored mode) and DropBox does this quite well already unencrypted. Maybe Apple is trying to cash in on their market?

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2011


    comment title

    Lol those screenshots look like the original Mac OS.

  1. jay3ld

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Is it just me..

    Or seeing those images remind you of the classic versions of Mac OS?

  1. Roehlstation

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Likely Automated

    Like Time Machine is

  1. facebook_Chris

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2011


    Online backup solution...I'm in!

    I made the mistake of purchasing the 1 year Carbonate for OS X and got hosed. I could never get it to work, no matter if I had my machine at home or at my office--it never backed up more than 200 mb of my 800gb MacPro machine.

    Spent hours on the phone w/ the people of Carbonate, with no results other than aggravation & being told "well it should work"...

    I'd love to have the option of doing a "Time-machine" remotely & be able to access it from anywhere--even if I'm not near my machine... I love Time-Machine but again, a source outside of where my computer is, isn't as preferable as an online backing up solution.

    Chris Powers

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Basic Problem...

    The basic problem with all cloud-based services is that they depend on your broadband connection and data cap. The broadband service I use treats the overall 30GB per month as the product of both upload and download so that with even a modest 60GB of data, the initial back-up would violate the cap twice over and cost a fortune, far more than the cost of a cloned bootable hard-drive. The alternative, that is only backing-up "essential" data, raises the whole issue of what exactly constitutes "essential" data? You only realize how essential something is "after" you've lost it. I'm speaking in terms of being the victim of a Seagate 7200.11 failure this week, occurring between regular back-ups!!! Ouch!

  1. UmarOMC

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I'd rather buy an extra hard drive.

  1. Gametes

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hello, VAULT?

    You can already do this TODAY with Vault.

    Any number of combinations of apps, such as Vault and Dropbox, or Truecrypt and MobileMe, will give you the encryption+backup combination.

    It would be cool for it to be totally integrated in the OS, but really? Hardly where Apple is needed for innovation.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    And Now We know

    Now we know what all of that server space in the Apple's new NC plant might very well be used for.

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