Step into the Time Machine and Back up Your Mac

Mac met cloud, externe schijf en bestanden

How important is the data on your Mac to you? If you’re like most people, your Mac has valuable info on it. Everything from the address list for your wedding invitations to copies of your tax returns. If something were to happen to your data, the losses might be irreplaceable. Fortunately, Mac provides options for quickly and easily backing up and restoring information on your Mac. Doing this, along with taking good care of your privacy settings on Mac, might save you a lot of trouble. Take a few moments to learn how to safeguard your Mac today.

Adding a Silver Lining to Your Cloud

In August of 2017, Hurricane Harvey began dropping massive amounts of rain on the Houston, Texas area. Over a period of several days, Harvey poured up to 50 inches of rain flooding homes, business, schools, and churches. The hurricane did $125 billion in damage to the area. The cost to lives lost and disrupted was immeasurable. While most of the property damage was to homes and vehicles, countless computers were waterlogged and destroyed in the ensuing floods.

While most of us will likely never face something as destructive as hurricane Harvey, a broken hot water heater, a fire in the home, a lightning strike, or other natural disaster can easily destroy your computer, wiping out the important information you have stored there. This is to say nothing of viruses, ransomware, and other intentional attacks that could prevent you from accessing important information.

When disaster strikes, it’s always a relief to have an insurance policy or other security to ensure your possessions are taken care of. Making regular backups of your Mac can provide that security for your data in the event some disaster ruins your computer.

Apple Makes Backups Easy

There really is no simpler solution for backups than is available on your Mac computer. Your Mac’s native backup program is called Time Machine. Apple has gone to great pains to ensure that this system is painless to setup and use. The whole process is very easy to go through. You should have no trouble taking the steps necessary to protect your data.

You will need a storage option for saving your backup. This can be an external hard drive, a USB drive, or an Apple Time Capsule. You may connect your backup either directly to your computer, or in many cases you can connect it through your Airport Extreme router.

In most cases, simply connecting an external drive will be all you need to do to pull up backup options. When you connect the drive, your Mac will ask you if you want to use the drive as a backup with Time Machine. If you select ‘Use as Backup Disk” you are set. Your Mac will now use the drive to make regular backups of your computer.

Using the Time Machine App

time machine backups macIf you already had your drive connected, or if you want to adjust the options on your backup, you will need to navigate to the Time Machine App. You can find the Time Machine in your menu bar, or open the Apple menu, select ‘System Preferences’, and click ‘Time Machine’.

Here you can select the drive you wish to use for your backups. Click ‘Select Backup Disk’ to bring up the list of drives available to store your backup on. When choosing a drive, you have the option to select ‘Encrypt Backup Disk’. This option provides greater security for your data and restricts your backup by requiring a password to access the files.

If you select ‘Back Up Automatically’, Mac will update files on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis. You can make a backup at any time, though, by clicking on ‘Back Up Now’ in the Time Machine Menu.

Restore a Previous Backup

If you accidentally deleted a file or made a change you later regret, you have the option of restoring a previous version from your backup file. First, open a window for the type of file you wish to restore. For example, open the ‘Pictures’ folder if you want to restore a photo, or the ‘Documents’ file if you want to restore a document. Open the Time Machine by clicking on it in the dock. Scroll through the timeline to find the file you wish to restore. Select the item and click on ‘Restore’ to bring that file back.

If you need to restore all the files from a Mac, in the ‘MacOS Recovery’, choose ‘Restore from Time Machine Backup’. This will allow the full restoration of all files stored in your backup.

Of course, we would all wish to never need a backup in the first place. But if you do need one, you will be glad you took a few minutes to setup your Mac to make a backup of your important files. Don’t forget to also backup your iPhone or Android device!

Tech journalist
Tove has been working for VPNoverview since 2017 as a journalist covering cybersecurity and privacy developments. She has broad experience developing rigorous VPN testing procedures and protocols for our VPN review section and has tested dozens of VPNs over the years.