How to Backup Mac to Time Machine or iCloud

Xiaobai Software  2022-07-18 23: 07  read 47 views

Your Mac is home to precious photos and important files.Without backups, you could lose all this data and more if your hard drive or solid state drive fails or your Mac is lost.

Don't take this risk.You can follow the instructions below to usetime Machine, iCloud, or both to back up your Mac.

How to Backup Mac totime Machine

Time Machine is the best way to back up your Mac.Since macOS already comes with Time Machine preinstalled, all you need is an external drive.

Most backup solutions save a snapshot of your Mac from when you last backed up.Every time you back up your Mac, it replaces this snapshot with a new one.By contrast, Time Machine saves countless snapshots from weeks, months, and even years ago.


This means you can restore your entire Mac or individual files on your Mac to the state it was in on a certain date.You can also use Time Machine to restore long-lost files, undo new changes to files, or go back to before malware infected your Mac.

A Time Machine backup includes absolutely everything on your Mac: photos, documents, user preferences, and third-party applications.If you've replaced your Mac, changed the storage drive, or wiped it clean, it's easy to restore a Time Machine backup and restore every piece of data you've lost.

Step 1. Get an external drive to use with Time Machine

Time Machine will create a backup of your Mac on an external drive.You can connect the hard drive to your Mac using USB, Thunderbolt, or FireWire, though you may need to use an adapter if your Mac doesn't have a suitable port.Apple used to offer a product called Time Capsule that let you back up your Mac with Time Machine over Wi-Fi.But right now, your only option is to use Time Machine wirelessly with a NAS hard drive.

Since Time Machine saves multiple snapshots of your Mac, it's best to make sure your external hard drive has about twice as much storage as your computer, if not more.Open the Apple menu and go to "About This Mac" > "Storage" to see how much storage space your Mac has.


You can store other files on an external drive along with Time Machine's backups.However, Time Machine does not include these files in the backup.Either way, it's a good idea to delete any important files from the external drive before setting it up for use with Time Machine, as you may need to wipe the drive to reformat it.

Step 2. Select your drive in Time Machine preferences

When you first connect an external drive to your Mac, you should see a prompt asking if you'd like to use the drive with Time Machine.Select "Use as Backup Disk" to set this drive as a Time Machine destination.


You should enable the "Encrypt Backup Disk" option.This keeps your data safe while someone else gets hold of your external drive.Create a password for backup and don't lose it.

One caveat though: if you forget your password, you can't restore an encrypted backup.

If the prompt to use your connected drive doesn't appear automatically, open the Apple menu and go to System Preferences > Time Machine.Then click Select Disk to select your drive from the available disks.

If your external drive is not formatted correctly, Time Machine will prompt you to delete and reformat it.This will delete all data on your hard drive, so be sure to delete any important files first.

Step 3. Create automatic or manual Time Machine backups

After you've selected an external drive for backups, Time Machine will automatically create hourly backups whenever the drive is connected.

To manually start a new backup, click the Time Machine icon in the menu bar and select Back Up Now.If you don't see the Time Machine icon, go to System Preferences > Time Machine and enable the Show Time Machine in menu bar option.


You can check the progress of the backup in Time Machine preferences or by clicking the Time Machine icon in the menu bar.The first backup may take a few hours, but subsequent backups should be much faster.

Time Machine backs up data for the past 24 hours hourly, data for the past week daily, data for the past month weekly, and data for the past year monthly.When your external drive fills up, Time Machine deletes the oldest backups to create more space.

If you need to restore a Time Machine backup, you can click Enter Time Machine from the menu bar icon, or open the Time Machine application.

How to Backup Your Mac to iCloud

The problem with Time Machine backups is that you can easily lose both your external drive and your Mac due to inadvertence.If this happens, you will lose all your data and backups, leaving you with no way to restore your files.Luckily, you can sync your Mac with iCloud and also back up data remotely.

While it's not actually possible to back up your entire Mac to iCloud like you can with an iPhone or iPad, it's possible to sync files on your Mac to iCloud.This stores them securely on Apple's servers, which Apple makes regular backups, and you can access them from around the world even if your Mac stops working.

To be clear, syncing files from your Mac to iCloud is not the same as backing them up.There's still only one copy of each file; the only difference is that it's now stored in iCloud, not on your Mac.Whenever you edit, delete, or create a new file on your Mac, it syncs those changes to the file in iCloud.These changes also sync to any other device you use with iCloud.

However, if you lose your Mac, all your files are still safely kept in iCloud.If you delete a file by mistake, iCloud gives you 30 days to restore it.For many people, that's all they want from backing up their Mac to iCloud.

But you can't use iCloud to go back in time and restore your Mac to a previous state like you can with Time Machine.You also can't use iCloud to restore all the data on your Mac, only your files and data from iCloud-compatible apps can use it.

Step 1: Enable iCloud sync for apps and documents

When you sync your Mac with iCloud, it also syncs with any other Apple device that uses your Apple ID.This means you can sync the same photos, contacts, calendars, reminders, notes and other files across all your Apple devices.

To enable iCloud sync, open the Apple menu and go to System Preferences > Apple ID.Select iCloud from the sidebar, then enable the checkboxes for each app you want to sync with iCloud.


To sync documents on your Mac, click Options next to iCloud Drive and enable the Desktop and Documents folder options.This will upload all files in the Desktop and Documents folders on your Mac to iCloud, making them available in the Files app on any other Apple device.You can also sync Mail, System Preferences, and other compatible apps from these options.

Step 2: Connect to Wi-Fi and sync your Mac to iCloud

With iCloud sync enabled in System Preferences, your Mac will automatically sync with iCloud whenever you're connected to Wi-Fi.To see the sync progress, open a new Finder window and look for a loading circle next to iCloud Drive in the sidebar.


If you need to work on files offline, remember to download them from iCloud first.You can do this by clicking the download icon next to a file or folder in the Finder.A cloud icon without an arrow means the file is currently syncing to iCloud.

Now you can access your files on any Mac or Apple device and log into your iCloud account.You can even access them through the iCloud website.

Keep multiple backups of your Mac

To keep your data as safe as possible, keep three separate copies of your Mac data, consisting of two local copies and an offsite backup.This is known as the XNUMX method and provides the best protection against data loss.


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