The Practical Guide To Mac Security: Part 12, Back Up With Time Machine

Check out the rest of the videos in this special course: The Practical Guide To Mac Security.


Every computer user should back up their data. Time Machine is the Mac's built-in backup software and can be used by just getting a simple external drive.

Comments: 19 Responses to “The Practical Guide To Mac Security: Part 12, Back Up With Time Machine”

    Scott Tober
    2 months ago

    Does Time Machine reinstall non-MacOS apps and associated data if an app is deleted by accident? Can you retrieve a folder with Time Machine or just files? Thank you.

    2 months ago

    Scott: You can restore any file or folder. If you deleted an app, I suppose you could restore it if you knew the files you needed to restore. But the way to do it would be to reinstall the app, not to use Time Machine.

    Brian O'Boyle
    2 months ago

    Do I understand correctly that my Gmail, which I access via the Apple Mail App on my Mac mini, is not backed up to TimeMachine, since it is already stored on Gmail’s servers, and therefore accessible unless I delete it from their servers?hrs?

    2 months ago

    Brian: Probably only a little of your Gmail archives are on your Mac. The rest are on the server.

    Richard Greene
    2 months ago

    If I get a new Mac and set it up with Time Machine to have all my files and apps on the new machine, will it also install things that have slowed my old Mac down? I know I can do a clean install but setting it up from Time Machine will save me a lot of hassle in getting everything back and running. I just don’t want to duplicate whatever is slowing me down. Thanks for your guidance.

    2 months ago

    Richard: What is slowing you down? If you have something installed that is slowing your Mac down, get rid of it now. Why wait?

    Alon Pfau
    2 months ago

    Hi Gary, In the past I’ve had the external back up drive fail leaving me with no back up to restore a problematic Mac -what are the pros and cons of backing up using time machine to multiple drives? Or a NAS with JBOD setup backing up to multiple drives. or perhaps even with RAID set up. ?

    2 months ago

    Alon: I don’t see any reason to use a RAID or anything like that. Those are built for performance. You don’t need anything that fancy for backups. Just use a regular drive and if you get unlucky and it fails, just get another backup drive. You can certainly do two Time Machine backups if you like. Or an online backup too. See the next video in this series.

    Mary Walker
    2 months ago

    Hi Gary, I have a 1tb iMac and a 1tb external drive which is rapidly running out of space on Time Machine, only 149gb space left. The iMac HD shows 756.93gb available of 1tb. The files on TM date back to 2012. Can I delete these directly from TM? TM is taking ages to back up even 255mb and preventing me from getting on with work! have a feeling it is not deleting the old files. If I buy an external drive with more capacity will TM just back up what is current?
    Thanks.

    Mary Walker
    2 months ago

    Hi again Gary,
    Have found the answers on macworld.co.uk. I made a mistake with the size of the external drive, it’s 2tb, not 1tb.
    Disk Utility shows the external drive as being ok, so it’s just a problem with old files clogging up the space.
    Kind regards, Mary.

    2 months ago

    Mary: No, don’t delete those files directly as that will corrupt the backup. It will only give you a slight temporary reprieve anyway. If you have been using it since 2012 there are a lot of files on there that you deleted long ago, but no good way to delete them that is worth your time. You could erase the drive and start fresh. But I would just get a new drive since this one is so old. 9 years is a good long life for a drive. But today I wouldn’t bother with a 2TB drive as a 4 or 5TB drive won’t cost that much more. If your Time Machine drive is from 2012, perhaps it is USB 2? A new drive would be USB 3 (make sure when you buy) and be much faster too.

    Also, if it is slow, it could be that the drive is failing after 9 years.

    Pete
    2 months ago

    I am on Big Sur 11.5.1. I have always use Time Machine to backup. However recently the backup always hangs up part way through. If left it will eventually take about 24hrs to complete the backup. Also I am now unable to sync between iPhone and MacBook. Have Apple stopped checking their IOS updates before issuing them? Do you have a solution to the above problems? I really appreciate your MacMost posts. Many thanks for your assistance

    2 months ago

    Pete: Could be a hard drive issue. It would be unrelated to any iOS syncing (are you still using old-fashioned sync instead of iCloud?). For the drive, you can try reformatting it and starting a Time Machine backup from scratch. But if it is getting old I would just replace it.

    Pete
    2 months ago

    Thank you for your prompt response Gary. I predominately use One Drive, but not iCloud. Maybe it would be logical to combine iCloud with One Drive, although I thought One Drive was similar to iCloud as far as external data storage was concerned. (??). Likewise it seems I should be using iCloud to sync Iphone to Mac. ?? My MacBook is 7 years old, likewise with my external backup drive. Are they ready for pensioning off do you think?? Thanks again for your help, greatly appreciated.

    2 months ago

    Pete: OneDrive is the equivalent to iCloud Drive. iCloud Drive is just a part of iCloud. You can use OneDrive for your files, and then still use iCloud for syncing things like Calendar, Notes, Reminders, Keychain, bookmarks, etc. See my video on how long a Mac should last: https://macmost.com/how-many-years-should-a-new-mac-last.html

    Tom Boyer
    2 months ago

    For clarity, Time Machine is backing up files (aka working documents) on a set time frame. Time Machine is not a back up for archiving files like genealogy documents/photos. I can recover a time recent document in Time Machine but if I want to archive a folder or other item I have to use something like Backblaze or Google Drive. Is iCloud in the same archive category as Backblaze?

    2 months ago

    Tom: Don’t confuse backing up with archiving. Backing up is for emergencies and accidents. If you want to store something forever, that is archiving. You don’t archive to a backup, You get another drive, some storage media, or a storage server and put the files there. iCloud Drive is neither a true backup not an archive. It is your primary storage.

    tom boyer
    1 month ago

    I’m still confused about iCloud and my Mac drive and backups. Are files and folders on my Mac HD also in iCloud? If I put a document on my desktop, is that saved in iCloud? Right now I am working in Word documents that are saved to my external drive. Want to now put those files on my hard drive and have them backed up into iCloud. Do I just drag and drop my folder from the external drive to the iCloud drive and/or to my desktop? Confused and at the character limit.

    1 month ago

    Tom: All files in “iCloud Drive” are in iCloud. If you have the iCloud option “Desktop & Documents” turned on, then all files in those two folders would be under iCloud Drive, so they would in iCloud.
    If you moved files from your external drive to any folder under iCloud Drive, then ti would be uploaded and part of iCloud. iCloud is not a backup, it is primary storage. See part 14 of this course (https://macmost.com/the-practical-guide-to-mac-security-part-14-icloud-drive.html).

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