How to Backup Your Mac

how to backup your mac

MacOS has a built-in backup tool called Time Machine. Once you plug in a hard drive and set up Time Machine, it will work automatically in the background, continuously saving copies of all your files, applications, and system files. If you run out of disk space, Time Machine will automatically erase the oldest version of the files to make way for the new ones.

It’s pretty much a “set-and-forget” system for local backups: 

  1. Connect an external hard drive to your Mac

You’ll need a drive that is at least the same size as your Mac’s internal drive. Plug in your external hard drive.

Time Machine will by default use up all the space available on the drive.

  1. Turn on Time Machine and select the backup destination

Once your external drive is plugged in, go to System Preferences > Time Machine and toggle the switch from “Off” to “On.”

Then click the “Select Disk…” button to select the drive or volume you want to use for Time Machine. Time Machine will ask you if you want to use the disk as your backup destination and will give you the option to encrypt the backups with a password.

The drive needs to be formatted as Mac OS X Extended (Journaled); if it’s not, Time Machine will prompt you to reformat the drive (which will erase all files on it!).

  1. (Optional): Exclude items or get notified of old backup deletions

The “Options” button in Time Machine will let you exclude volumes from the backups or get notifications when old backups are deleted.

  1. Let Time Machine do its work

Those options selected, backups will happen automatically every hour. Time Machine keeps:

  • Hourly backups for the past 24 hours
  • Daily backups for the past month
  • Weekly backups for all previous months
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This blog is meant to provide a starting point to implementing cyber security practices within your company. Due to the rapid progression of technology this is an ongoing and ever-evolving subject!