How to Backup and Restore Your Mac using Time Machine

By Rimzhim Sharma October 9, 2016 How To, Mac

As all our data is mostly saved on system, we do feel the need of creating regular backups of our devices to safeguard our important data and documents, so that it doesn’t lead to panic attack in case we lost it. Time machine is basically a built-in backup feature of OS X. It backs up all of the files to an external hard drive so that we can restore them later or see how they looked in the past.

Here are some quick steps to back up your Mac device easily.

How to set up a time Machine:

To use it, we need one of these external storage solutions:

  • External hard drive connected to a USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt port on your Mac
  • Time Capsule or OS X Server on your network
  • External hard drive connected to the USB port of an AirPort Extreme (802.11ac) base station on your network.Read Also : Most Unique Way to Save Your iPhone from Stealing

Step 1: Open System Preferences

  • In system preferences select the Time Machine option from the menu.
  • Or you can even access it via apple menu>System preferences>Time Machine.


Step 2: Set up the Time Machine and select backup option

  • In the Time Machine window, you will find an option of “Select Backup Disk”.


  • Select an external hard drive, Time Capsule, or other storage solution from the list, and then click on “Use Disk”.


  • When we connect an external hard drive directly to our Mac, we might be asked if we want to use the drive to back up with Time Machine.
  • Click “Use as Backup Disk.”


  • NOTE: If we select the “Encrypt Backup Disk” checkbox, our backups will be accessible only to the users with the password.

Quick Tip- After we choose a backup disk, optionally click “Add or Remove Backup Disk” to add more backup disks for extra security and convenience.

Step 3: Create Backups

After we set up the Time Machine, it automatically makes hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups for all previous months. The oldest backups are deleted when our backup drive is full.

There are various backup options which you need to know:

  • Back Up Now-To back up now instead of waiting for the next automatic backup, choose Back Up Now from the Time Machine menu.
  • To stop automatic backups, turn off Time Machine in Time Machine preferences. We can still back up manually by choosing Back Up Now from the Time Machine menu.
  • To pause a backup, choose Stop Backup from the Time Machine menu. To resume, choose Back Up Now.
  • To check backup status, use the Time Machine menu. The icon shows when Time Machine is backing up, idle until the next automatic backup, or unable to complete the backup.
  • To exclude items from our backup, open Time Machine preferences from the Time machine menu, click Options, then click Add and select the item to exclude.

The first backup may take a long time, depending on how many files we have. We can continue using our Mac while a backup is underway. Some Mac computers make backups even when asleep. Time Machine backs up only the files that changed since the previous backup, so future backups will be faster.

Restore from a Time Machine backup: –

Once you have successfully created a backup on the external hard drive, we will now proceed to the process of restoring backups. There are 2 restoring options –

2 .Restore Specifice Files

  • Choose Enter Time Machine from the Time Machine menu, or click Time Machine in the Dock.
  • Find the files to restore: Use the timeline on the edge of the screen to see the files in our Time Machine backup as they were at that date and time. The timeline may also include local snapshots.


  • Use the onscreen up and down arrows to jump to the last time the contents of the window changed. We can also use the search field in a window to find a file, then move through time while focused on changes to that file.
  • Select a file and press Space Bar to preview the file and make sure it’s the one we want.
  • Click Restore to restore the selected file, or Control-click the file for other options.

2.Restore Everything

  • To restore everything in our Time Machine backup, use OS X Recovery. To start up from OS X Recovery, hold downCommand ()-R immediately after turning on or restarting your Mac. Release when you see the Apple logo. If you can’t start up from OS X Recovery, try holding down Option-Command-R to start up from OS X Internet Recovery*. Startup is complete when you see the OS X Utilities window.



Hope this article was useful for you and will help you in creating easy and fast backups of your Mac device.

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Rimzhim Sharma

"Rimzhim Sharma is a blogger at The Phone Support. An engineer by qualification, she discovered her penchant for writing all things tech and cool, quite by chance. She writes about newest technology trends and gadgets. When not writing, Rimzhim is likely to be found reading, traveling, or simply digging into her favorite foods."