Time Machine – A Built-in Feature to Backup Mac Devices Data

It has now been a very established fact that data is nothing without proper security and protection. In today’s time, content is not the only thing on which the importance of data is evaluated. Instead, the extent of its security, as well as safety, has a prime rating.

This phenomenon can very well be judged by referring to more demands of cybersecurity specialists and questions which foremostly ask that if gathered data will be safe or not? But this is not where data vulnerabilities take a bowing stop. This thing lingers on to the state-of-the-art backup and restoration strategies.


    Over a period of time, cyber-attacks have increased manifold. In such situations, cybersecurity can be regarded as the prime protection, but it should not be the only thing to rely on. Data backups can be an excellent way to provide secondary protection against any such incident. Backup offers an all-in-one type of solution to every possible calamity to data.

    Mac is one of the handiest and powerful machines. Such characteristics can diminish if it does not offer exceptional protection towards any unfortunate incident. Keeping up with the pace of growing demand for third-party backup solutions, Apple introduced Time Machine as the built-in backup utility for Mac OS devices. It is a very smart backup utility that lets the users choose different platforms for managing data backups. Users can connect their external drive via a USB connection and can also prepare backup over the network-attached storage.

    It will constantly check for any left-out data over the cycle of one hour. If it finds anything which has not yet been backed up, then it will automatically backup that specific file over local storage. But if it notices storage space to be falling short, it will smartly delete older backups and make space for the latest backups.

    Guide to use Time Machine

    Though it is very easy to backup important data on Mac devices, there exist some hacks to make backups more efficient. Following are some of the guidelines to prepare data backups for Mac with Time Machine:

    Selection of the Backup Destination

    It is the first and foremost step to begin Time Machine backup. First of all, open Time Machine preferences to define the storage space where a user wants backups to reside. It must be noted that Time Machine has the capability to back up the data across many devices.

    Users may select an external hard drive to be the designated storage space. Solid-state drives can also be a good option to store backups. Both of these can easily be connected to the Mac over the USB connection.

    In addition to this, an external hard drive or SSD can also be connected to the Apple AirPort Extreme or any other Wi-Fi router. Such settings can enable storage mediums to go online and a user can easily backup his or her data over the network.

    If the above storage destinations are not found to be feasible, then the user can either opt for Apple AirPort Time Capsule or any OS X server for the purpose of backing up the data. But for this, there is a requirement of having either of these options to be on the same network as that of the Mac device.

    Backup Time and Frequency

    Before formally kicking off the backups on the Time Machine, it is important to first define the backup time and frequency. By default, as soon Time Machine will be set up, it performs full backups of your Mac device. Therefore, it might take some time and it is recommended to let it first get finished.

    After this, the Time Machine will follow a differential type of backup solution. Here deleted or modified files will constantly be checked every hour and will constantly be added. It will keep such backups for the next 24 hours and then for the whole month. Furthermore, Time Machine keeps the subsequent weekly backups for as long as storage space allows.

    As soon as storage space finds to be falling short, Time Machine will intelligently delete the oldest backup files. This is the only place where Time Machine lags somewhere. To overcome this shortcoming, Mac users make bootable files of their important files and define an autonomous schedule for this. It is important to note that for such bootable files, the user needs some third-party backup utility as the Apple menu does not have any in-built utility for this.

    Time Machine Setup

    After getting done with storage selection and specifying backup frequency time, the last step is to set up Time Machine. It is quite an easy thing to do, just connect Time Machine with the Mac device and set up will begin. First-time users may see a permission sort of window where Time Machine will ask them if they want to use the specified drive for the backup or want to choose something else.

    As long as user click use as backup disk button, an initial backup will begin instantly. Yes! this is how simple it is. Not only the setup is easy, but it also gives the users an additive feature of encrypting their backups. This feature is like a stern hand against any data abusive practice and makes everyone blind about the user’s data. For this user does not have to route towards a complex setup, instead, it will just be one click away and will be shown on the permission sort of dialog box. There is one very worthy thing to note and it has been noted that a lot of people make such an easy setup a complex job just because of this misinformation. Some people argue that they aren’t able to set up Time Machine even on the newly bought external hard drive. The problem is neither with the hard drive nor with the Time Machine. Basically, the format in which hard drive has been formatted is not compatible with the format Time Machine needs. This format is known as MAC OS X Extended (Journaled). Even this common ambiguity is handled by the Time Machine. If it detects that the subjected storage device is not compatible with the required format, it will first prompt the user to format this device as per requirement.

    Backup using Apple AirPort Time Capsule

    Apple AirPort Time Capsule is an immensely interesting hybrid device. It prepares one part of the backup on an external hard drive and other parts over the Wi-Fi router configured storage device. This thing really makes backups go smart as the user’s device will not need to be connected to the subjected storage device via any wired connection. However, the process to set up the Time Machine with the AirPort Time Capsule is quite different from the above-mentioned backup method.

    In order to configure this on the subjected Mac device, open the system preferences in the mac’s dock and select the Time Machine icon. Once windows get opened, select the backup drive where you want to manage the backups. However, if the user sees that his or her desired storage device or location is not showing up, then click “AirPort Time Capsule” or any other visible options to select the desired one. Furthermore, the user can also encrypt the disk to prevent any sort of digital menace. From there on, a backup will commence. A user can also enable the option of “Show Time Machine in menu bar”, to see the progress of the backup or can keep it disable too.

    Backup Schedules

    Generally, the Time Machine offers the following two broad types of backup schedules.

    Initial Backup

    Initial backup will be the first and autonomous sort of backup. As soon as Time Machine is configured, each and every system files and other files on the Mac device will be backed up. This does not mean that the Mac device won’t be able to multi-task, instead, the user may continue to use Mac while initial backup will continue in the background.

    There is just one tip that during initial backup, don’t turn off the Mac device so that the Time Machine properly captures all of the data present in the device. A notification will appear on the screen, once the initial backup is completed.

    For the AirPort Time Capsule users, it is recommended to use Ethernet cable between the mac’s ethernet port and the Time Capsule’s ethernet port.

    Everyday Backup

    As soon as the initial backup is done, Time Machine will efficiently backup the data on an hourly basis and calls it hourly backups. It even shows the status of the backup by showing different visualization over the Time Machine icon. If something goes wrong, then the user can easily detect it from the embossed warning sign in its icon.

    Furthermore, if the user feels that he or she needs instant backup, then Time Machine can manually be called on. For this, by clicking on the “Backup Now”, a backup will commence instantly.

    Generally, everyday backups are taken as if long term backups are not offered by the Time Machine. But in reality, it is the initiating point of the long-term backups. These daily backups make up for the weekly backups, which will further make up monthly backup. This may span over year-long backups as long as storage space remains sufficient.

    Data Restoration using Time Machine

    The sole purpose of having a data backup is just to make data recoverable in case of any disaster. Time Machine provides complete restoration feasibility in case of data corruption, complete system loss or data gets accidental delete.

    In order to initiate the restoration process, switch to the Finder and choose “Enter Time Machine”. Once Time Machine is opened, a timeline showing backup dates and times will be shown on the right side of the window. To restore a certain point in time, click on the appropriate timeline and see if it is what you are looking for?

    In case, a user is not sure about the specific date and time, then he or she can go to past backups using an upper arrow key. Once the designated folder or file is reached, stop at that point in time. Furthermore, a user can also reach a specific point in time, if he or she is sure of the file’s name.

    Once the aspired file or folder has been located, just select it and click on the “Restore files” button. If a user is not sure if it is the right version, then he or she may use “Quick Look” by pressing the space bar, after selecting the file.

    Once a file has been restored, then it might be copied to either desktop or might have been restored to the parent folder. Time Machine is a very smart utility as this smartness continues to embed even during the restoration process. If it notices that another file also exists with the same name, then it either suggests the user keep one of them or keep both. Furthermore, the user may also explore other options by right-clicking the subjected file.

    How useful is Time Machine Backup?

    Who does not want a solution which should be the jack of all trades? Indeed, everyone needs it, and this is what Time Machine gets to comply with. Not only it is a backup utility, but it is also a restoration utility. Furthermore, it does not let Mac users rely on any third-party backup and restoration vendor.

    Apple is known for the reliability and versatility of its products. This proves to be real when it comes to Time Machine. It lets the user backup and restore data without any hassle. Embedding of intelligence and smartness makes it extremely useful to prepare data backups.

    From the abundance of storage destination choices to smart backups and user-customized backup schedules, Time Machine is nothing but a one-stop backup and restoration solution for Mac users. All these characters make Time Machine stand out as an extremely beneficial and useful backup utility for Mac users.