How to use Time Machine app on your Mac

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How to use Time Machine app on your Mac

As you know, the Time Machine app is the built-in backup solution in macOS, which enables automatic backups of your Mac onto an external drive. It’s really easy to set up, and after that, you don’t even need to worry about it. However, if you want to customize your experience to fit more particular needs or use cases, it does provide a certain level of customization too.

One can use Machine, a feature which comes as built-in in Mac, to automatically back up all the files, including apps, music, photos, email, documents, and system files. When you have created a backup, the files can be restored from your backup if the original files are ever deleted from your Mac, or the hard disk (or SSD) in your Mac is erased or replaced.

What is Time Machine?

Time Machine

Time Machine is Apple’s built-in solution for backing up macOS. You can either connect an external hard drive over USB or Thunderbolt (or FireWire, for older Macs) for a wired connection, or you can connect over a network for a wireless connection.

Time Machine backs up every hour, deleting older backups as the backup drive starts running out of space.

It’s a great first layer for any backup solution and its inherent right in the operating system.

First, we need to learn how to set up the Time Machine app, then we can learn about how we can choose what’s backed up. We will also learn how to restore from Time Machine, how to encrypt backups, and much more.

So here we go!

How to set up Time Machine

How to set up Time Machine

Time Machine app makes it very simple to back up Mac data. Here’s how you can back up content using the Machine app in macOS Mojave.

Following instructions will guide you about how to use Time Machine for backup purposes on your Mac.

  • First select System Preferences from your Apple menu.
  • Click on the Time Machine icon.
  • Click on the Select Backup Disk.
  • Then you have to choose which disk you’d like to use as a Time Machine backup.
  • Check the Back Up Automatically box and this will automatically back up your Mac to your chosen disks.
  • The hard drive will now be ready to accept backups through Time Machine.

Want to restore files from Time Machine?

Here’s a simple process:

  • You have to first select System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  • Click on the Time Machine icon.
  • In the menu bar, check the box next to Show Time Machine.
  • Click on the Enter Time Machine after clicking the Machine icon in the Menu bar.
  • Sort and find the file or folder in question and click Restore.

It’s that simple! Time Machine will automatically copy the chosen file back to its original location on your hard drive.

Make sure your Time Machine is backing up properly on your Mac

It’s essential to Back up your data on your Mac, but only if the backup system you’re using is working as promised. Here’s how you can test your Time Machine backups and see if they are sound and ready to be used when needed.

There are three simple ways to do it:

1. Restore and Verify

The easiest way to confirm that your backup files are safe is to simply restore a file (or files) using Time Machine. This option works perfectly fine for anyone using Time Machine. You can use this method regardless of how the backup drive is accessed.

Here’s a recap of how it’s done:

  • First of all select System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  • Click on the Time Machine icon.
  • In the menu bar, check the box next to Show Time Machine.
  • Click Enter Time Machine.
  • Find the file or folder you wanted back and click Restore.

2. Verifying networked Time Machine backups

If you’re backing up your files with Time Machine to a networked location, there’s another simple solution, this one that doesn’t require restoring old files.

  • Hold down the Option key on your keyboard while clicking on the Time Machine icon on the menu bar.
  • Click Verify Backups.

Depending on the size of your backup files and speed of your Mac, this process may take a while. During this time, macOS will alert you if there is a problem. Otherwise, no report will be issued. If there are concerns, your system will automatically recommend solutions.

3. Verifying local Time Machine backups

This is relevant for Most Mac owners who use the Time Machine app to have a physical storage device connected to their computer. In this case, the solution mentioned above isn’t possible since Verify Backups is non-clickable out on the menubar. Instead, you’ll need to verify your files using Terminal.

Here’s an easy way to do it:

  • Ensure that your backup drive is plugged into your computer.
  • Then click on the Spotlight Search icon on the menubar.
  • In the search box, type “Terminal”.
  • Under the Top Hits results, Select Terminal.
  • In Terminal, you have to copy and then paste the code tmutil compares.
  • Finally, click Return on your keyboard. After you do so, the system will automatically compare the contents of your Mac with the contents of your backup. This report can take up to 15 minutes to complete, depending on the size of your backup drive and speed of your Mac.

You’ll see the following items on this report:

  • A ! before a file simply means that the given file has been changed.
  • A + before a file means that the given file is new.
  • A – before a file means that the given file was deleted.

report

Once the report is completed, you’ll see a summary indicating how much storage was added, removed, and changed. If there’s a problem with your backup, you’ll see language in the report indicating as much.

report2

Theoretically, the best way to test and verify your Machine is to restore one or more files as a test. But if you really want to dig deeper, other options are available.

How to Delete older Time Machine Backups

You can also remove the files on your Mac that you have backed up to an external drive, in a few different ways. Here’s how to do it all.

Before getting started, keep in mind that Apple deletes the oldest backups on your hard drive if you’re about to lose space. In other words, you don’t have to delete this manually.

There are two different ways to delete backup files off of your Time Machine external drive.

The first option is to use the actual Time Machine app and the second is to delete the files using Finder on your computer.

Both ways require that your hard drive is connected to your Mac.

Here’s the first method:

  • First, you have to click on the Time-Machine icon on the Menu Bar
  • Then select Enter Time Machine.
  • Scroll through your backups and find the one you want to delete.
  • Click on the Gear icon.
  • Select Delete Backup.
  • If requested, enter your password.

That’s it! You should be all set.

Deleting Files on an External Drive Using Finder (Method: 2)

  • Click on the Finder icon
  • On the left-hand side, click on your backup drive that’s located under Devices in the panel.
  • Under section Backups.backupdb, you will find the subfolder for the Mac machine that’s backed up.

gdrive

  • Scroll down until you find the subfolder for the date you’d like to delete.
  • Right-click and select Delete
  • Confirm your choice to delete it.
  • Note: You’ll have to delete these files in the Trash too.

How To Encrypt Your Time Machine Backups

You can also secure the backed up data on your Time-Machine by turning on encryption. Here’s how to encrypt your backup data using the Time Machine app in macOS Mojave.

While it’s not encrypted by default, you can enable encryption when you set it up.

If you’re attaching a new drive, Time Machine might detect it and ask to use it. In that case:

  • Click on the Encrypt backups box on the bottom left.
  • Click on Use as Backup Disk.back up

If it isn’t Detected or You Want to use an Already Connected Drive:

  • Click on the Apple icon. You will find it in the menu bar.
  • Then choose System Preferences.
  • You will see Machine near the bottom, click on it.
  • Click on Select Disk…
  • Choose and select the Disk you want to use for your backup.
  • Don’t forget to choose the Backup Automatically box so you don’t have to remember to do it manually.
  • Click on the Encrypt backups box on the bottom left.
  • Enter a password to encrypt the disk.

drive

If you have an existing Machine backup on the same volume which is non-encrypted, you’ll have to remove the disk first and then add it again as an encrypted volume. Be sure to copy off any old files or versions of files you might need beforehand or you’ll lose it when the drive is reset for encryption. (You can get a new drive but that would leave your old drive unencrypted and vulnerable.)

So, this was a detailed analysis of how to use Time Machine on Mac. The purpose of this article is to make the users aware of the various aspects of the Time Machine and how to make the most out of it. We hope that we have covered all the essential aspects.

If you have any additional questions about getting started with or using the Time Machine app, let us know in the comments.

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