Backup your MAC to a Hard Drive

Backup your MAC to a Hard Drive
Updated On: July 13, 2023

Backing up your data can sometimes prove to be a hassle. Going through the process of manually creating your backup plan can also prove to be a bother. This is why most operating systems already have a backup feature pre-installed. This helps create an automated process for your backups.

For MAC users, Apple offers the ability to backup your data through Time Machine. The software requires an external storage device to help you backup your data elsewhere. Users can choose to backup selective files or even the entire hard drive.

Importance of a Backup Strategy

Keeping a backup of your data is a crucial process is avoiding data loss. A number of scenarios can cause all of the valuable data stored to be lost. This can be due to hard drive failure, physical damage to the MAC or a software issue. In any case, the data stored on the computer system might never be recoverable.

This is why your backup plan matters. A number of methods exist to facilitate your backup. You can choose to backup your data to a clone, USB drive, cloud storage device or even through Network Attached Storage (NAS). In the end, your personal requirements will decide what you need.

With MAC, users are given the ability to automate the backup process to an external hard drive. Users can even create a system image of their computer system. Let’s go through the process of backing up data to a hard drive on MAC with Time Machine.

Time Machine Backup Process

Time Machine backup is an extremely simple and automated process. To start, you will need to decide on your storage medium. In this case, the process explains how to backup your data to a hard drive.

Make sure that the external hard drive being used has at least 35% more space than the required space for your backup. This is a good idea as it keeps flexibility in case you need to backup more data in the future.

It should also be noted that Time Machine automatically will use up all of the space on your external hard drive. This can happen irrespective of whether there’s still extra space on it or not. To avoid this, you can partition the drive into two parts. One can be specifically made for the Time Machine backups. This will let you use the remaining storage space for any other purpose.

Here are the steps to backup your data to a backup disk using Time Machine:

Step 1: Connect the External Hard Drive

At this point, we’ve already decided upon the storage size for the drive. To start, attach the external hard drive to your MAC. This can be done by attaching to the USB slot, Thunderbolt or the FireWire.

Users can also attach the external hard drive to an Airport Extreme router or any other network device such as the AirPort Time Capsule network device. But, it’s important to know that a directly connected hard drive will copy data faster.

Step 2: Open Time Machine and choose the Backup Destination

The drive connected now needs to be configured with MAC. This is where Time Machine comes in. This software installed on your MAC is switched off by default. To open it, go to system preferences and select Time Machine. You will see a toggle switch on the left side of the screen. Just simply press it to switch Time Machine on. Here, you will also see an option to select the destination for your backup as ‘Select Disk…’. If your external hard drive is already connected to the MAC, it will give you the option to select it. You will also be presented with an option to encrypt the external hard drive. This is optional as it allows users to increase safety by putting a password on the hard drive.

Users will need to format the drive before the backup starts. The drive will need to be formatted as ‘macOS Extended Journaled’. In case the drive is not already formatted, Time Machine will ask you to do this. The backup won’t start until this is done.

Step 3: Excluding Files from the Backup

Users are also given the option to exclude any unwanted data from the backup. This is a manual process that the user will go through. Here, you can deselect any data from your MAC that does not need to be included in the backup.

This presents itself as a separate option than backing up as a system image. In a system image, the entire drive along with all configurations is backed.

Step 4: Backup Starts

After you’ve made all necessary time machine preferences and chosen all options, you can start the backup process. The backup process depends upon the storage size of the backup. Users will now just have to wait until Time Machine completes the backup process. In this way, you can easily back up your data from MAC to a hard drive. The data recovery process is similar as it takes almost the same amount of time.

Importance of Routine Backups

Routine backups of the data on your computer system can be very resourceful. The more number of times the backups take place, the lower the chance of any data loss. When the external hard drive is connected to your MAC, you can keep it this way. When you do this, you can choose the time period after which Time Machine would back up the data automatically.

Based on the options selected, Time Machine can do hourly backups. This is the safest option that the external hard drive will automatically be updated every hour. Users can even opt for monthly and weekly backups along with this.

Backup your MAC to a Hard Drive

Saaher Muzafer / CEO Backup Everything
Saaher Muzafer / CEO Backup Everything

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