rysnc is a very useful command line utility to synchronize folders between locations. You can use it to transfer large folders between drives or remote locations. I use it to deploy Node apps to my Droplet almost everyday.

Unfortunately, macOS (even Big Sur!) ships with version 2.6.9—a version that came out 14 years ago (in 2006).

rsync --version
// rsync  version 2.6.9  protocol version 29
// ...

Fortunately, updating rsync is very easy. We'll use Homebrew (brew.sh) for macOS to do so.

Here's how to do it in 2 steps and 5 minutes.

  1. Install Homebrew
/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install.sh)"

snippet from https://brew.sh/

  1. Update rsync
brew install rsync

Now, checking the version should return a newer version of rsync. Your version might differ if you're reading this in the future (or the past?).

rsync --version
// rsync  version 3.2.2  protocol version 31
// ...

A grand benefit of updating to a newer version is the implementation of the --info=progress2 flag, which prints the progress of the rsync operation allowing you to ensure the process is working. Extremely useful.

Optionally, you can create an alias, making rsync print with progress every-time. Here's a preset of flags I always use.

alias rsync="rsync -az --info=progress2"

rsync flags and documentation.

Now, enjoy your super-powered rsync on macOS and follow me on Twitter. :)