Backing up your computer is an important but underrated task since many of us often ignore it. You might be spending hours working on your Mac, and it’s only adding up volumes of data to your storage media each day, month, and year.
But if your computer suddenly turns out black-screen, what are you going to do, how will you get your data back? If you think this will not happen to you, what if you delete some of the data permanently from your Mac (knowingly or unknowingly) without realizing that you will need it later.
Luckily, macOS offers some of the potential and easy-to-do ways to backup data using built-in features – iCloud and Time Machine.
- iCloud: The cloud drive that allows you to move your data from Apple desktops and laptops and sync across Apple devices wirelessly.
- Time Machine: A built-in utility that works with external storage media to create digital copies of the entire information stored on the Mac.
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However, whatever method you adopt to backup your Mac, make sure that your computer is up to date and working seamlessly. To backup your device, it must work at an optimal speed so that the backup process won’t take unnecessary time. Cleaning up Mac before the backup is also essential to ensure that only useful data is residing on the hard drive.
A number of ways are available to optimize your computer and improve its performance. Make sure you clean up your Mac properly before initiating the backup process. If you do not know how to clean up a Mac to ensure more space and better productivity, click here to get detailed information on the topic.
By optimizing your device, you are saving time and unnecessary efforts that the backup process puts in to move unrequired data to the external disk or the iCloud drive.
If you want to backup data without spending anything, you can sign in to the iCloud account. You need to set up your iCloud account to get started.
- Go to the Apple menu and then click App Store to make sure that your Mac is fully updated. You will have to log in using your Apple ID and select Updates from the left sidebar.
- Next, navigate back to the Apple menu in the upper left corner of the screen, tap System Preferences, and then click iCloud.
- Then log in to the iCloud account using your Apple ID and agree to the Terms & Conditions.
- In the iCloud window, what do you want your iCloud account to do by selecting both or either of the two options that include:
a. Use iCloud for your documents and data
b. Use Find My Mac
- Next, you will be able to see and select the apps that you want to backup to iCloud Drive. The window also allows you to check how much storage is consumed by the entire data stored on iCloud out of 5 GB available free.
Note: If required, you can upgrade your iCloud storage by buying a paid plan.
- From now on, the information you add to any of the selected folders and apps will automatically backup to iCloud. The data stored in iCloud Drive is accessible on any Apple device using the same Apple ID.
Time Machine, Apple’s backup software, is an easy-to-use utility and a part of macOS. For getting started, you need to connect an external storage media such as an SSD (solid-state drive), a hard drive, or network storage.
Once you set up a Time Machine, it will automatically create hourly, daily, and monthly backups of the Mac data.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to backup your Mac using Time Machine.
- Plug in the external storage media to the Mac.
- The Mac will ask you if you want to use the external drive with Time Machine. Select the Use as Backup Disk option.
Note: The drive you use for backing up Mac must be formatted as MacOS Extended (Journaled).
- If you do not see the alert, make sure the drive is formatted correctly or open System Preferences, select Time Machine, and then click Backup Disk.
- Select the storage device that you are using as a backup disk and click Use Disk.
If your Mac doesn’t allow you to use Time Machine, click on the Time Machine icon available in the top toolbar on your Mac screen. Next, click Open Time Machine Preferences. Now, tap on Select Backup Disk (also displayed as Add or Remove Backup Disk or as a Select Disk option in different macOS versions). Next, click on the external storage drive you are using to Create Time Machine backup and select Use Disk.