How to Back up Mac with Time Machine

You can backup your iPhone or iPad with iTunes or iCloud. But what if you wish to backup Mac? Normally, a Mac asks you to select a backup disk when you connect an external hard disk with your Mac. However, it is not necessary as many Mac users raised complaints that Time Machine fails to ask to select a backup disk. With the right use of Time Machine, you can solve the backup issue on your Mac. Read this tutorial carefully and you will be able to backup Mac with Time Machine.

It goes without saying that to backup MacBook Pro/Air with Time Machine, you need an external hard disk. Time Machine a default back-up feature of Mac; you need to first set up Time Machine and then you will be able to take backup.

How to Backup MacBook Pro/Air with Time Machine

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Before you backup your Mac, you need to set up Time Machine.

How to Set up Time Machine

It is quite simple to set up Time Machine on your Mac. When you connect your external hard drive with your Mac, you might be prompted to use the external drive or disk to back up with Time Machine. In the dialog box, you can click on ‘Use as Backup Disk’. You can add a security layer to your backup by clicking ‘Encrypt Backup Disk’ check-box.

This sounds pretty cool! But problem begins when Time Machine doesn’t ask you to select a backup disk. What to do now? Follow the steps given below.

Step #1: Launch Time Machine preferences from Time Machine menu from the menu bar.

OR you can click Apple menu→ System Preferences → Time Machine.

Step #2: Next, you need to click on Select Backup Disk, Select Disk, or Add or Remove Backup Disk.

Step #3: Now you can choose a backup disk from the list and then click Use Disk.

Pro users would like to backup Mac on two external drives – one at home and another at office. This only gives you additional backup security and convenience. You can follow the same steps as mentioned above to add another backup disk.

How to Use Time Machine to Backup Mac

Once Time Machine is set up, it starts taking hourly backups for the last 24 hours; daily backups for the last month; and weekly backups for all previous months. Note that your oldest backup will be removed when your external drive is full.

Step #1: Select Back Up Now from the Time Machine menu.

Step #2: Launch Time Machine preferences and then deselect Backup Automatically (macOS Sierra) or turn off Time Machine (OS X El Capitan or previous version). This will stop automatic backup. IF you wish to go for manual backup, select Back Up Now from the Time Machine Menu.

Step #3: In the middle of the process, you can also cancel a backup. Simply select Skip This Backup or Stop Backing Up from the Time Machine menu.

Step #4: Use Time Machine menu to see the Backup Status. Time Machine icon shows different status: when Time Machine is backing up, the icon is like “__”; it is idle until the next automatic backup “__”; and if Time Machine is unable to finish the backup, it shows “__”.

Step #5: You can eliminate some items from the backup; for this, launch Time Machine preferences from its Menu. Next, click Options and then click + and choose the item to eliminate.

Remember: Time taken by Backup depends on the number of files you have on your Mac. While Time Machine is taking backup, you can use your Mac. All your future backups will be faster as Time Machine backs up only those files that changed since your previous backup.

How to Restore from a Time Machine Backup

Restore all data

You can restore all data in Time Machine backup by using macOS Recovery.

You can copy files, settings, and user accounts in backup to another Mac by using Migration Assistant.

Find specific files to restore

Step #1: From Time Machine menu, you need to select Enter Time Machine; or you can click on Time Machine from the Dock.

Step #2: Now you can find specific files to restore:

  • To check the files in your Time Machine backup, you can use timeline on the edge of your Mac screen. The timeline may also have local snapshots.
  • To see the time the contents of the window changed, you should use onscreen up and down arrows. A search field is also a better option in a window to find a file; next, move through time while focused on changes to that tile.
  • Choose a file and hit Space Bar to preview the file; you need to ensure that it is the same file as you want.

Step #3: Finally, click Restore to restore selected file; you can check other options by hitting Control-click.

That’s it!

Time Machine is a useful feature built in your Mac. Use it and backup Mac with Time Machine.

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