How Time Machine Backups Work When using iCloud

Does Time Machine backup all of your files when you are using iCloud Drive? The answer depends on whether you are using the Optimize Mac Storage function. But even with it on, chances are you are well protected.

Comments: 9 Responses to “How Time Machine Backups Work When using iCloud”

    Kay Fisher
    1 week ago

    I have an extensive backup strategy. Part of it (a small part) is shuffeling two 5TB removable drives between house and off site storage. I have always backed up my Macbook Pro and My iMac Pro to the same disk.
    I get this warning new everytime: Should this computer claim the existing backups on the disk "Backup2 5TB"?
    I always answer yes. Everything seems to be fine. Is this OK?
    Please don't advise me to use separate drives. I also do that.

    Respectfully,
    Kay Fisher

    1 week ago

    Kay: That sounds fine, but I've never seen that message myself. My backup process is not like yours.

    Frank Scully
    7 days ago

    Hi Gary

    What would happen in the case where say "File E" has not been used and is not stored locally and we started using using TimeMachine some time after it was released from the local drive. Then we have a disk crash or lost or stolen computer.
    When we first restore the folder from TimeMachine "File E" will not be present. My concern is that iCloud will interpret that as the file was deleted as it is not there and do the same on the cloud

    7 days ago

    Frank: I cover that in the video. You restore from Time Machine and that doesn't help File E. But it is on iCloud Drive, so it doesn't matter. iCloud Drive would not think you deleted it because you didn't. It would still be available in iCloud on other devices or the web while you waited for your new computer, and then when you connected the new computer to iCloud it would be there without missing a beat. This happens every time someone buys a new Mac, not just when one is stolen or breaks.

    Mark
    6 days ago

    Fantastic Explanation Gary. I could store everything on my local drive and don't really need to do optimize but that's only because I went to the new M1 iMac and got a 2TB drive. But after hearing your explanation, I think I'll just leave it at optimize as I see no great danger.

    Thanks again!
    Mark

    Kathy
    6 days ago

    Thanks Gary for the excellent video. Can you tell me if a New M1 24” iMac running latest OS would have any issue with Time Machine where I would like to use two external HDD drives, one connected all the time, and the 2nd configured in TM but only connected twice a week to create redundant backups? Would TM get confused by this backup strategy? I eject and the 2nd drive before it’s unplugged, but leave it configured in TM. I trust your experience and expertise. Thanks K

    6 days ago

    Kathy: I don't see why there would be a problem. Time Machine is software and it shouldn't matter while Mac model you have.

    Kathy
    5 days ago

    Hi Gary, thank you for your response. Have you seen issues with time machine where the program could get confused in a situation that I described above? Could it possibly wake up the sleeping iMac while it 'searched' for the non connected but configured HDD I wonder? Thanks in advance.

    5 days ago

    Kathy: It is designed to work with more than one drive. Many people have one at home and one at work and setups like that. It won't wonder where the other drive is, it knows it isn't connected.

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