Back up your MacBook to an external hard drive with Time Machine to save your valuable photos, videos, apps, documents, and personal data.
It is important to back up data on your MacBook. This will save you time and money in the future if your MacBook gets damaged or stolen.
Apple has made it easy for you to back up your data. You can use Time Machine to back up all of your files, or you can use iCloud. All of the data will be stored in the cloud and backed up on a regular basis so that you don’t have to worry about losing any of your work.
Time Machine is capable of doing:
- hourly backups in the past 24 hours,
- daily backups for the past month,
- weekly backups for the previous months.
In this post, we’ll guide you on how to back up your MacBook Pro or Air to an external hard drive with Time Machine.
Let’s get started!
How to Back up your MacBook to an External Hard Drive with Time Machine
1. Connect your external hard drive to your MacBook Pro, Air, or iMac.
2. Click the Apple logo and select System Preferences.
3. Click Time Machine.
To access Time Machine more quickly in the future, tick Show Time Machine in menu bar. The Time Machine logo will appear in your menu bar, next to the Bluetooth. Next time you want to access the Time Machine, you only need to click the logo.
4. Click Select Backup Disk…
5. Select the external storage device that you want to use to store your backups.
For additional protection, you can encrypt the data by selecting Encrypt backups. You will need a password to access your backup, though.
Then, click Use Disk.
The backing up progress will start immediately.
If you are using a brand new external hard drive, the system might need to format it before performing the backup. It’s a necessary thing to do because most external hard drives are using an NTFS format while Mac required a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format.
The backup progress may take a while depending on how big your data are.
During the backing up process, you can continue using your MacBook.
Once the backup is complete, a notification will show up on your screen.
What if my external hard drive is full?
Time Machine will automatically delete the oldest backup when your external drive storage is full. So you don’t need to worry about it.
After the first backup, Time Machine will back up your MacBook automatically whenever your backup device is connected to your MacBook Pro, Air, or iMac.
Time Machine also supports a manual backup so you don’t need to wait for the next automatic backup schedule.
To do a manual backup, do the following steps:
1. Connect your external hard drive to your Mac and click the Time Machine icon in the menu bar.
2. Click Back Up Now.
You can also use the same method to skip a backup and see the backing up progress.
Tips 1: Exclude items from backup
You can exclude files that you think are not worth it to be backed up.
1. Open System Preferences.
2. Select Time Machine.
3. Click Options….
4. Click the Plus (+) button.
If you want to perform a backup anytime, check Back up while on battery power.
Also, check Exclude system files and applications if don’t want to back up the system files and applications.
5. Select the files or folders and click Exclude.
6. Click Save
To remove items from the exclude list, you can select the item and click the remove (-) button.
Tip 2: Back up to multiple disks
It is also possible to back up your data to multiple hard drives at once.
1. Press and hold the Option button.
2. Select Browse Other Backup Disks from the Time Machine menu.
Those were how to back up your MacBook to an external hard drive with Time Machine.
You can use an external hard drive that can connect to a USB, Thunderbolt, or FireWire port.
Last but not least, you cannot use Time Machine to back up your Mac to iPhone, iPad, or disk formatted with Windows OS.
Do you have other useful tips about backing up your MacBook with Time Machine? Let’s discuss in the comment box below.