How to Completely Backup Your Mac Using Time Machine

Making a backup of your computer is one of the most important things you should do when it comes to maintaining your machine. We’re guessing it’s where your photos, videos, music, and pretty much all your other files reside, and if something happens to your computer, like a failing hard drive, you’ll definitely lose everything. all these files have been backed up.

You may think backing up all your files is tedious, but modern software technology has made it quite easy and convenient.

If you’re using a Mac, there’s a utility called Time Machine that makes backing up your computer super simple. However, it can be a bit confusing to set up for OS X beginners, so we’ll show you how to install it and even restore from a Time Machine backup.

Activating the Time Machine

Before you start backing up your Mac using Time Machine, you need to enable it and set up the external hard drive you want to back up. Open and click. You should then see a large toggle switch. Simply turn this to start tuning.

Next, you will need an external hard drive to back up. Plug it into your Mac and then click on it in the Time Machine window. You should see your external hard drive listed. Select it and then click . From there you are all set to go and you can start backing up your computer. It should give you a countdown until it officially starts the backup.

However, there are some advanced options you can take advantage of. You can click the icon in the lower right corner from the Time Machine preference pane. Here you can prevent certain folders from being backed up with Time Machine. There are also settings that let you back up even when your MacBook is running on battery power, or you can do this so Time Machine notifies you when old backups are about to be deleted to make room for newer backups.

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Restore from Time Machine Backup

To restore a backup, you need to open Time Machine. You’ll find it in the folder and double-click on it to open it. You will then be greeted with the main Time Machine UI.

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From here you can explore all the backups you have and visit any backup on your external hard drive. This method only allows you to restore files or folders that you accidentally deleted. To restore your entire system from a Time Machine backup, see the next section.


So, to restore a specific file or folder, go to the date and time you last owned the file or folder. You can navigate between different dates and times using the vertical bar on the right. Here you can see both white and purple markings. Time Machine backups saved to your external hard drive appear in purple, while local snapshots appear in white. Local snapshots are just compliments to actual backups and make up for when the external hard drive is not connected, so you’ll want to stick with the purple lists for the most part.

When you find the file you want to restore, click on it and then scroll down to the lower right corner and click .

Restoring Your Entire System Using Time Machine

To restore your entire computer (rather than just some files and folders), you need to boot into the computer recovery partition by pressing and holding Command-R during boot. This launches Recovery Mode, a partition of your drive that your Mac treats as a separate volume.


The Mac OS X Utilities window will appear and from here . Click until you reach the Choose a Backup Source window. Next, select your Time Machine backup drive and click . In the Choose a Destination window, select your Mac’s main hard drive and hit the road.

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