[Full Guide] How to Back Up a Mac with/without Time Machine
Nothing is more frustrating than losing important data on your Mac. To avoid this, the best course of action is to back up your Mac. If you've never backed up your Mac before, read this blog to understand why you should and how to do it.
Reasons Why You Should Back Up Your Mac
Creating a backup for your Mac helps avoid data loss, which can occur for various reasons, such as your Mac being infected with a virus, hardware damage, accidental deletion of important files, or macOS operating system issues.
Now that you understand the importance of backing up your Mac, let's explore how to do it.
Before You Back Up Your Mac
Before creating a backup, it's advisable to delete unnecessary files on your Mac, as the initial backup process can be time-consuming.
You can use Finder to delete files manually that you don't need. However, it is recommended to use BuhoCleaner to perform this task for you. This tool is designed for Mac cleanup and optimization, making it capable of cleaning your Mac in just a few clicks.
After clearing out all unwanted files, let's proceed to the actual backup steps.
How to Back Up Your Mac with Time Machine
When it comes to Mac backup, the first tool you may want to use is Time Machine, a built-in macOS backup tool. You can use it to back up files, movies, songs, photos, accounts, passwords, etc. However, it can't be used to back up your macOS.
- Time Machine
- An External Drive (2 times the size of your Mac hard drive)
Here's how to use Time Machine to back up your Mac:
Erase or Format Your External Drive
- Connect your external drive to your Mac.
- Launch Disk Utility via Spotlight, Launchpad, or Finder.
- Click the View arrow and select Show All Devices.
- Select your external drive in the sidebar and click the Erase button.
- If necessary, name your device and select the format you need.
- Click Erase > Done.
Back Up Your Mac with Time Machine
- Click the Apple Menu and select System Settings > General > Time Machine.
- In the Time Machine panel, click the Add Backup Disk button, choose the drive you formatted to store your backup, and then click the Set Up Disk button.
- Time Machine will automatically back up your Mac, requiring no further user intervention. Backups occur on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis. In the event that your disk becomes full, Time Machine will automatically delete the oldest backups.
- If you're having issues with Time Machine backup, check out this guide for help.
How to Back Up Your Mac without Time Machine
As you can see, using Time Machine to back up your Mac requires an external drive. But what if you don't have one?
Don't worry; here are two methods that allow you to back up your Mac without using Time Machine.
Method 1. How to Back Up Your Mac to iCloud
If you don't have an external drive available, using iCloud to back up your Mac is the best bet.
iCloud is a cloud computing service provided by Apple Inc. It allows users to store and synchronize various types of data, including photos, videos, documents, contacts, and more, across multiple devices such as iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other Apple devices.
Here's how to back up your Mac using iCloud:
- Click the Apple Menu and select System Settings > Apple ID > iCloud.
- Turn on iCloud Drive.
- Click Options, check the box next to anything you want to store in iCloud Drive and click Done.
Method 2. How to Back Up Your Mac Using Backup Software
iCloud provides only 5GB of free storage space. If you have a large amount of data to back up, consider upgrading your plan to iCloud+ or using a powerful backup tool for Mac.
Numerous backup tools are available online. Here, we will take SuperDuper, one of the best Mac backup software options, as an example. This tool is simple and easy to use, making it convenient for backing up your Mac.
- An External Drive (1.5 - 2 times the size of your Mac hard drive)
How to Back Up Your Mac with SuperDuper!:
- Download, install, and launch SuperDuper! on your Mac.
- Select the volume you want to copy and the hard drive you want to save the backup to.
- Choose Backup - all files or Backup - user files. (The Backup - all files option is more recommended. If the volume you are copying is a startup disk, the backup you make is a bootable clone.)
- Click the Options button to tell SuperDuper! how to perform your backup.
- Click the Copy Now button to start your backup.
In this guide, we explored three tools for backing up your Mac. The official method is to use Time Machine. However, if Time Machine isn't suitable for you, consider using iCloud or a third-party backup tool.
No matter which method you choose, it can effectively protect your data from loss.
Living in New Jersey, Peter Aaron is an Apple technician focused on iPhone and iOS repairs. Meanwhile, he's also a senior writer at Dr.Buho, with a simple mission to help fix Apple things that are with software or hardware glitches.