How to Back Up Your Mac to iCloud Drive [2023]

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Jerome Mills
Last updated: Mar 21, 2023
Summary: Still haven't backed up your Mac? It's time. Read on and learn how to back up your important files to iCloud to prevent data loss.

When it comes to back up a Mac, we have to mention Time Machine and iCloud Drive. Time Machine is a local and hands-on data backup method, while iCloud Drive is an internet-based backup method. Both of them can help you back up your Mac. Just choose one according to your needs.

Earlier we discussed how to back up your Mac with Time Machine. Here we will show you how to back up Mac to iCloud step by step.

[Complete Guide] How to Back Up Your Mac to iCloud Drive

Why Should I Back Up My Mac to iCloud?

iCloud Drive is the most straightforward way to back up your Mac. It saves your files on Apple servers and syncs them to all your Apple devices signed in with the same Apple ID. As long as you sync your files to iCloud Drive, you can access them from any other Apple device at any time.

What Does iCloud Back Up?

Unlike Time Machine, which backs up all files, including system files, iCloud Drive can only back up some files, such as:

  • Desktop and Documents Folders
  • Photos and videos
  • Contacts
  • Calendars
  • Mail
  • Reminders
  • Notes
  • Safari
  • Messages
  • Voice Memos
  • Some Application Data

How to Back Up Your Mac to iCloud Drive

Now that we know what files you can back up with iCloud Drive, let's see how.

Before starting, we recommend you update macOS to the latest version to avoid issues with iCloud.

Here's how to create a Mac backup using iCloud:

  1. Click the Apple icon > System Settings.
  2. Click your Apple ID > iCloud.
    Open iCloud on Mac
  3. If iCloud Drive is off, turn it on.
    Open iCloud Drive
  4. Click iCloud Drive, click Options, and check the box next to anything you want to store in iCloud Drive, such as your Desktop and Documents, Messages, or Mail, then click Done.
    Back up Your Data with iCloud
  5. Return to the iCloud page, then choose whether to back up Photos, Password & Keychain, Contracts, etc.
    Back up Mac with iCloud
  6. Your Mac will start backing up your files to iCloud. To manage your iCloud storage, click the Manage button above the storage bar.
    Manage iCloud Storage

Bonus Tip: How to Clear Unwanted Files from Mac

Depending on the size of the files you are backing up, this may take some time. It's a good idea to delete unnecessary files from your Mac first.

BuhoCleaner is one of the best Mac cleaners. It is designed to help you clean up and free up space on your Mac with just a few clicks. From clearing cache and removing temporary files to uninstalling apps and deleting duplicate files, BuhoCleaner has them all covered.

Free DownloadFor macOS 10.10 and above
100,000+ Satisfied Users Worldwide

Here's how to use BuhoCleaner:

  1. Download, install and launch BuhoCleaner.
  2. Click Scan to quickly clean up your Mac.
  3. Navigate to other cleaning and optimization features to further clean up your Mac.
    Quickly Clear Files on Mac with BuhoCleaner

Final Words

Although it's easy to backup Mac to iCloud, you should know that it comes with a 5GB free storage limit. If you have a lot of files to back up, you'll need to subscribe to an iCloud plan to get more space. Plus, iCloud tends to only partially back up your files. If you want to fully back up Mac, your best option is Time Machine. It's reliable and will give you peace of mind knowing all your important files are safe.

Jerome Mills

A creative editor from Dr. Buho, who has been consistently writing high-quality Mac and iPhone issue-related guides for over 3 years.