Your Mac’s Time Machine should be your primary backup system. Not only does it let you restore your Mac to a happy working state after a crash, but it also lets you recover individual files or folders you may have accidentally erased. Additionally, as its name suggests, you can see what files looked like an hour ago or anytime in the recent past.
What is Time Machine and why should you use it?
Time Machine is a backup system software for Macs that run on Mac OS X Leopard or later. It makes regular periodic backups in the following intervals:
- Hourly backups for the past 24 hours
- Daily backups for the past month
- Weekly backups for previous months
Since the scheduled backups don’t replace previously saved files and only save the changes you’ve made to a file, you don’t have to worry about storage space running out fast.
Let’s say you’ve been working on a file for five days. Time Machine has periodically created backups of the changes you’ve made every day. So if you need to retrieve a version of a file with changes made on day 2, you can do so even after you’ve made several changes on the file from days 3 to 5. This is because Time Machine stores multiple copies of the file from days 1 to 5.
In case you’re getting a new Mac, you can easily copy all your files from your old computer to the new one, with your settings, files, and folders intact. And if you’re backing up data from several Mac computers, there’s no need to use a separate device for each Mac, provided it has enough space for all files.
How to use Time Machine
To use Time Machine, you only need an external storage drive such as a USB, an SSD card, or any storage device that can be plugged into your Mac. Then follow these steps:
- Connect an external storage device (or macOS server) to your Mac.
- Go to System Preferences > Time Machine.
- Click Use as Backup Disk. (It’s recommended that you click Encrypt Backup Disk before you do so, in order to set up a password for accessing your backup.)
- If Time Machine doesn’t automatically pop up when you connect an external storage disk, go to System Preferences > Time Machine.
- Select the storage disk you’ve just connected, then click Use Disk.
Other backup options
Although there are various other backup systems for Mac, Time Machine is one of the more practical options for users who value simplicity, convenience, and reliability. What’s more, it’s free.
That said, third-party backup systems may offer more comprehensive features. And since Time Machine only backs up data instead of the entire hard drive, restoring an entire system is relatively slower.
Despite this minor setback, Time Machine is a reliable, user-friendly, and economical way to back up your files. Whether you’re backing up a device for personal or business use, using Time Machine ensures all your files are safe and can be recovered. If you need more comprehensive backup solutions, our experts are ready to help — call us today.