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  • Ben Ingle

How to back up data to Time Machine

Time Machine, a type of physical backup, is a free-to-use built-in feature of macOS which allows users to save any data they wish to keep. Developed by Apple, Time Machine backs up data such as files, photos, music, emails, settings, and apps to an external storage drive. These backups created by Time Machine can be recovered at a later stage through the process of restoring through Migration Assistant.

External Storage

As Time Machine is a form of a physical backup process this method will require the use of an external storage device, either connected to the Mac directly by Thunderbolt or USB or, through Network-attached storage (NAS). Click here to view the types of backup disks which can be used and configured for Time Machine.

How to use Time Machine

  1. Connect your external storage device to your Mac via USB or Thunderbolt

  2. Select System Preferences and click Time Machine

  3. Next, click Select Backup Disk...

  4. Select the drive you want to use for Time Machine backup and then click Use Disk. This will initiate the backup process and Time Machine will now make automatic regular updates

  5. Migration Assistant can be used to transfer data from your Time Machine to your Mac

It is worthwhile ensuring the Show Time Machine in menu bar is ticked, as this will display the Time Machine menu from the menu bar at the top. When selected, this menu will display the latest Time Machine created, preferences, and whether or not you wish to backup or Enter Time Machine.

  • Enter Time Machine: This option allows you to enter the Time Machine and restore your Mac to a previous backup from a specific date

  • Back Up Now: Time Machine will perform regular automatic updates. However, you can select this option if you wish to back up your Mac now. Please note, the first Time Machine backup will take the longest, after this, the backups should be much faster

  • Open Time Machine Preferences: This will open the settings for your Time Machine. When selected Options, you can remove (-) or add (+) items to be included with your Time Machine backup

For further support, we would recommend reaching out to Apple as they offer useful articles on both Time Machine and Migration Assistant.

If you have any Apple devices such as an iPad, iMac, MacBook, or Mac Mini please feel free to get in touch with us by calling 0208 191 1745 or emailing us at for advice or a quick quote.

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