In case you haven’t setup Time Machine Backups on Mac, it is time that you start thinking in terms of making use of this free tool on your Mac to setup automatic backup of all your Files, Photos and Data on Mac.
Time Machine Backups on Mac
Time Machine can be described as an in-built backup tool in macOS, which can be setup to make automatic backups of all the data on your Mac to an external hard drive, connected via USB, FireWire or Thunderbolt Port.
Time Machine can also be setup to backup Mac’s data wirelessly to Disks connected over a network, as long as the disk supports AFP (Apple’s File Sharing Protocol)
Once it is setup, Time Machine starts automatically backing up all your Files, Apps and the operating system to the External Hard Drive designated for Time Machine Backups.
Time Machine runs its periodic and automatic backups on hourly, daily and weekly schedules. Whenever the Backup Drive gets full, Time Machine automatically deletes the older backups and replaces them with new versions.
This ensures that your latest Time Machine backup has all the new files and all the changes that you had made to files on your Mac.
Advantages of Time Machine Backups
Most other Data backup solutions are based on making a backup of your whole system. The benefit of Apple’s Time Machine Backups is that it makes a backup of the entire Data on your Mac only for the first time.
After this, Time Machine copies only the most recent files or the files that you are working on, instead of making a copy of all the data on your Mac all over again. This ensures that Time Machine Backups are quick and do not waste resources on your Mac.
Also, Time Machine makes it really easy to restore the data on Mac. In case something goes wrong, you can roll back your Mac to a specific point in time or recover a specific File or Photo, in case you have only lost a single File or Photo.
Hard Drive For Time Machine Backups
In order to setup Time Machine Backups you will need an External Hard Drive that is much greater than the capacity of all your Files, Photos and other data on your Mac.
This will allow Time Machine to store different versions of the Data on your Mac, which in-turn will allow you to go back in time and recover files before you made any changes to them.
In general, you can go for a Hard Drive that has at least the same capacity as the Local or Internal Hard drive on your Mac.
Steps to Set Up Time Machine Backups on Mac
Follow the steps below to setup Time Machine Backups on Mac
1. Connect the external Hard Drive to your Mac (in case you haven’t already done so)
2. Next, click on the Apple Logo from the top menu bar on your Mac and then click on System Preferences in the drop-down menu.
3. On the System Preferences screen, click on Time Machine option.
4. On the Time Machine screen, Click on Select Backup Disk… button (See image below).
Recommended: Select the option to Show Time Machine in Menu bar (See image above). This will make it easy to Restore Files from Time Machine Backups
5. On the next screen, select the External Hard Drive that is connected to your Mac for Time Machine Backups and click on the Use Disk button. Also, select Backup Automatically option, in order to setup Automatic Time Machine Backups.
Note: Optionally, you can check Encrypt Backups in case you are using FileVault.
In case the attached Hard Drive is in an incompatible format, Time Machine may prompt you to Erase the Disk (See image below)
As mentioned above, Time Machine will make a copy of every single file, folder, and application on your Mac for the first time. Hence, the first Time Machine Backup will take a long time.
After this Automated Time Machine backups will occur in the background on your Mac, as long as the External Hard Drive is connected to your Mac and you haven’t paused or stopped Time Machine Backups.
Exclude Files From Time Machine Backups
By default, Time Machine is set to backup almost all the Files, Folders and Data on your Mac. However, you can exclude certain Files or Folders from Time Machine Backups by following the steps below.
1. Click on the Apple Logo from the top menu bar on your Mac and then click on System Preferences in the drop-down menu.
2. On the System Preferences screen, click on Time Machine option.
3. Next, click on the Options button located at the lower right corner of Time Machine Screen (See image below).
4. On the next screen, click on the + Plus button (See image below)
5. On the next screen, choose the File or Folder that you want to exclude from Time Machine Backups and click on Exclude.
6. Click on the Save button to save the List of Files/Folders excluded from Time Machine Backups
Restore Files On Mac Using Time Machine Backups
Follow the steps below to Restore Files or Folders on your Mac using Time Machine Backups,
1. Click on the Time Machine Icon located in the top menu bar of your Mac (Top right corner) and then click on Enter Time Machine option in the drop-down menu.
2. On the next screen, select the File or Folder that you want to Restore and then click on the Restore option.
Time Machine will copy the selected File/Folder from the external Hard Drive and copy it back to its original location on your Mac.