In our ongoing series on syncing local Mac folders with SFTP To Go, we’ve explored a range of nifty sync tools, file managers, and FTP clients, including FreeFileSync, GoodSync, Transmit 5, and Forklift. 

FreeFileSync offers an open-source manual option with somewhat convoluted automation options, while GoodSync excels in automation all on its own. Transmit 5 is great for quick manual syncs, and Forklift brings user-friendly two-way sync features, albeit also manual.

This post is all about ChronoSync, known for its automation features, flexible scheduling, real-time sync, and advanced file archiving and restore features.

We’ll walk you through the setup and show you why ChronoSync is such a popular choice for sensitive file management and customizable syncing between your local Mac and SFTP To Go.

We like it.

More about ChronoSync

ChronoSync is a versatile sync and backup tool designed for macOS. Whether you need to sync files between local directories, external drives, or remote servers, ChronoSync offers a comprehensive set of features that make it an excellent choice for all sorts of applications—but especially sensitive file management.

ChronoSync brings a huge array of impressive granular settings, including options for handling deleted files, archiving, selected file sync, and restore operations. Its built-in scheduling and automation capabilities ensure that your sync tasks run smoothly and efficiently, minimizing manual intervention. 

It’s impressive archiving and granular sync management features make it a popular choice amongst designers, digital creatives, and software developers.

Watch this video intro to learn more: 

Chronosync features and benefits

  • Multiple sync types: Backup, bidirectional sync, mirror, bootable backup, and more.
  • User-friendly interface: Easy setup with visual progress indicators.
  • Scheduling and automation: Schedule tasks and set custom triggers.
  • File comparison and analysis: Advanced comparison and Trial Sync to preview changes.
  • Versioning and archiving: Archive replaced files, and restore files as needed.
  • Customizable options: Handle errors, conflicts, and special files.
  • Security and encryption: Secure SFTP support and data encryption.
  • Performance optimization: Multi-threaded operations and SmartScan.
  • Cross-platform compatibility: Syncs with various systems and devices.
  • Notifications and alerts: Real-time task status alerts.
  • Scriptable and extendable: Automation with AppleScript.
  • Detailed logging and reports: Comprehensive task logs and reports.
  • Granular sync and restore: select individual files and groups of files for custom sync operations.

Ready to set up and use ChronoSync for syncing your local Mac with an SFTP To Go server?

Let's go!!!

How to install, set up, and run ChronoSync for Mac to SFTP sync operations

Download and install ChronoSync

1. Download ChronoSync:

  • Visit the Econ Technologies website and navigate to the Downloads section.
  • Download the ChronoSync installer for macOS (Version 11.0.2 or newer).
ChronoSync SFTP sync

2. Open the Installer:

  • Locate the downloaded .dmg file in your Downloads folder and double-click to open it.
Mac to SFTP synchronization
  • The ChronoSync installer window will appear.

3. Start Installation:

  • Double-click the ChronoSync icon to begin the installation process.
Local to remote SFTP sync

4. Follow the Installation Steps:

  • The ChronoSync installer will guide you through the installation process. Click "Continue" on the introduction screen.
ChronoSync Mac sync
  • Read through the software license agreement and click "Agree" to accept the terms.
Automated Mac to SFTP sync
  • Click "Install."
Mac file sync with SFTP
  • Enter your admin username and password to authorize the installation.
Secure SFTP sync Mac
  • The installer will run the necessary scripts, etc. to complete the installation. Wait for the process to finish.
ChronoSync SFTP To Go

5. Allow Notifications:

  • After installation, allow notifications to stay informed about sync activities.
Sync Mac folders to SFTP

6. Finish Installation:

  • Once the installation is complete, you will see a confirmation message. Click "Close" to exit the installer.
Real-time sync Mac to SFTP
  • After a successful installation, you may be prompted to move the ChronoSync installer to the bin. Choose "Move to Bin" to clean up your Downloads folder. 
Mac SFTP sync tool

Chronosync initial launch and setup

7. Launch ChronoSync:

  • Chronosync will automatically install into your Applications folder. Locate the ChronoSync application in your Applications folder and launch it.
ChronoSync tutorial Mac

8. Grant Full Disk Access:

  • ChronoSync requires full disk access to function properly. When prompted, open the Security & Privacy settings in System Preferences.
Sync local folders SFTP
  • Click the lock icon to make changes, then enable Full Disk Access for ChronoSync.
Mac SFTP automation
  • You will need to quit and restart ChronoSync for the changes to take effect.

9. Activate ChronoSync:

  • On first launch, you will be prompted to activate ChronoSync. Choose "Activate Trial Mode" to use a temporary license, or register with a purchased license key.
Mac to SFTP server sync

10. Explore ChronoSync Organizer:

  • After activation, you will see the ChronoSync Organizer. This is the main interface where you can create and manage sync tasks. 
  • This is the first window you’ll see whenever Chronosync launches.
Syncing Mac with ChronoSync

Creating a new synchronizer task

11. Create a New Synchronizer Task:

  • In the ChronoSync Organizer, click "Create a new synchronizer task."
  • Name your task something meaningful, like "Mac SFTP To Go Sync."
ChronoSync file transfer

Setting up your local “source” and remote “destination folders

12. Connect the SFTP To Go server and choose your “destination” folder:

  • In the task setup screen, you’ll see right and left panes where you can connect to, mount, or specify the source and destination targets for synchronization. 
  • We started by choosing the “destination” on the right, which will be our SFTP To Go Server’s home folder.
SFTP server sync Mac
  • For the destination, click "Connect to" and choose "Create connection."
  • Name your connection.
  • Ensure that the Connection Type is “SFTP File Server”,
ChronoSync sync options
  • Enter your SFTP To Go server details. In the "Hostname or Address" field, enter the host details obtained from your SFTP To Go dashboard>Credentials tab.
Mac backup to SFTP
Secure Mac to SFTP sync
Mac sync with SFTP server
  • Fill in the "User Name" and "Password" fields with your credentials, and click "Test" to confirm the settings are valid.
Local Mac sync software
SFTP sync for Mac
  • Go to the "Advanced" tab to configure additional settings such as caching and metadata options. Set the directory to the desired remote folder.
Mac sync tasks ChronoSync

13. Choose the local “source” folder you want to sync:

  • For the source, on the left-hand side, select the local folder you want to sync by clicking “Choose” and navigating to the appropriate folder.
Automated SFTP sync Mac
  • Click “Select”.
Sync Mac files to SFTP

Configure and run your SFTP Mac sync

14. Final Mac to SFTP sync setup:

  • Ensure both source and destination paths are correctly set. The software will indicate if there are any issues with the setup. It’s all looking good, and the Readiness State confirms that we are now connected to SFTP To Go and ready to synchronize. 
  • You may wish to select “Synchronize deletions” and/or “Archive replaced files” as well. You’ll find these options under the operation parameters in the center columns.
  • In the "Options" tab, you can set additional sync options such as file exclusions and conflict handling.  In the “File handling” section, you should choose the “Custom” option with “Dissect” packages selected, as this is a preferred setting for synching with SFTP To Go.
ChronoSync sync scheduling
  • Once everything is set up and validated, the synchronization status will show as ready.
ChronoSync SFTP connection

15. Initiate synchronization:

  • Click "Synchronize" to start the process. The software will display the progress and any warnings or errors encountered.
  • During the synchronization, you can monitor the progress and details of the files being synced.
Mac SFTP sync process
SFTP sync setup Mac

Triggered and scheduled syncs between MacOS and SFTP

16. Schedule sync tasks:

  • You can schedule tasks to run at specific times. In the ChronoSync Task window, click "Add to Schedule" near the top right.
Sync Mac data SFTP
  • Configure the schedule settings, choosing from options like hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly under the “Simple interval” option.
ChronoSync file management SFTP
  • You can also set advanced intervals or event-triggered tasks if needed. We opted for event-triggered sync.

17. Advanced interval scheduling:

  • Use the "Advanced Interval" tab to set specific times for the task to run.
  • This allows for detailed scheduling down to the exact minute.
scheduled sync mac to sftp to go

18. Event-triggered sync scheduling:

  • You can also set tasks to run based on specific events, such as when a volume mounts or when the system wakes from sleep.
  • This ensures your tasks run automatically based on system events or user actions. We chose to be prompted before scheduled syncs, just to test Chronosync.
  • Click “Add” to finalize your settings.
Mac to SFTP sync settings
how to sync local mac to sftp to go

19. Monitor scheduled tasks:

  • Use the Scheduled Tasks Manager to view and manage all your scheduled tasks, accessible by CTRL-clicking the app icon.
  • This interface provides an overview of the status and next run time for each task.
how to schedule local mac to remote sftp sync
  • We tested the triggered sync by creating a new folder at our source.
local mac to remote sftp server sync
synchronize local mac to remote sftp server
  • Shortly afterward, the prompt appeared, confirming that the feature works as intended. You don’t need to enable prompts, of course.
efficient mac sync sftp
  • Voila…success.
sftp to go mac sync
sftp to go mac scheduled sync


ChronoSync won’t connect to the SFTP To Go server unless the app is open.  

If you’ve configured triggered or scheduled sync, ensure you set ChronoSync to open at login by CTRL clicking the dock icon and selecting “Open at Login”. Missed scheduled tasks will be caught up once your Mac wakes up.

Users can also use a custom script to wake up the Mac and put it back to sleep after scheduled tasks if needed.

You can then check the connection status in the sync-task’s “Readiness State” field. The connection should hold as long as ChronoSync is running in the background.

Other options, configurations, and advanced Chronosync settings

20. Change your sync type:

  • Chrono sync has way more options than the other sync solutions we’ve tried. There are a whopping fifteen sync types to choose from, not to mention all the other granular config options. 
sftp mac real time sync
  • Bidirectional sync with “Synchronize deletions” is a great option, and you have the added option of archiving deletions—and plenty more.
sftp to go triggered sync

21. Configure options:

  • Configure error handling, archive handling, sync triggers, notifications, sounds, scripts, and other preferences in the “Options” tab.
triggered sync local mac to sftp remote

22. Set rules:

  • Set “Rules” to specify update parameters around a range of specific file features.
local to remote sync mac sftp

23. Analyze, select and specify sync operations:

  • CTRL click selections in the “Analyze” field to explore a range of options for selection-specific sync-and-restore actions. We’re quite impressed by the granularity of ChronoSync’s file and sync management options.
automated sync mac to sftp

In conclusion

ChronoSync is a highly recommended solution for syncing your local Mac folders with an SFTP To Go server. 

It offers a massive range of customizable sync options, including bidirectional, backup, and mirror syncs, along with advanced scheduling and automation features, archiving and restore features. Its user-friendly interface and error handling make it suitable for both novice and advanced users.

Whether you need regular backups, real-time sync, or detailed file handling, ChronoSync offers all you’ll need for efficient and secure data management in conjunction with SFTP To Go. For more detailed instructions and to explore other features, check out the ChronoSync User Manual available on the Econ Technologies website.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I sync my local Mac to a remote SFTP server using SFTP To Go?

To sync your local Mac to a remote SFTP server using SFTP To Go, use a tool like ChronoSync. Set up a new synchronizer task, configure the source and destination targets, and initiate synchronization.

What is the best software to synchronize local Mac to remote SFTP?

ChronoSync is highly recommended for local Mac to remote SFTP sync with SFTP To Go. GoodSync and SFTP To Go are also a great combination.

Can ChronoSync automate file synchronization with SFTP To Go?

Yes, ChronoSync supports automated synchronization with advanced scheduling options when syncing with SFTP To Go.

Does ChronoSync support real-time synchronization with SFTP To Go?

Yes, ChronoSync offers options for real-time synchronization with SFTP To Go, ensuring files are updated immediately upon changes.

Is it possible to archive replaced files with ChronoSync and SFTP To Go?

Yes, ChronoSync allows archiving of replaced files, keeping old versions for recovery if needed, even when syncing with SFTP To Go.

How secure is file transfer with ChronoSync and SFTP To Go?

ChronoSync ensures secure file transfers with SFTP To Go through SFTP support and encryption options.