4 Best Ways To Backup Your Mac Or Macbook

You are aware that you should back up your Mac; here are the five best ways to backup your Mac; ensure that you back up everything on your Mac before it’s too late!

You may have stumbled onto this page because you just experienced the horrible scenario of your Mac failing without a backup, or because you know someone who has experienced such a tragedy and want to prevent it from happening to you.

Or perhaps you messed up a document you were working on, saved over something you didn’t want to lose, or realised you accidentally destroyed a substantial amount of work. Recovering unsaved or deleted Word documents might provide unique difficulties. If only you had a backup and could access a previous version.

Regardless of why you want to learn the best way to back up your Mac, we want to assist you in developing a backup strategy. We will examine the several types of Mac backups, such as local wired or wireless backups, live backups, remote backup, and online backup.

We’ll also examine the best Mac backup solutions, such as iCloud or another online service like Dropbox, Time Machine or other backup software for a local backup (we have an in-depth article about How to Backup Your Mac With Time Machine), and the various remote backup services available if you want to ensure that you can recover your data if both your computer and local backup are destroyed.

10 Undeniable Reasons Why You Should Backup Your Mac

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Here are a few reasons why you should absolutely backup your Mac, in no particular order:

1. You (or another person) may accidentally spill a drink on your Mac. (we have a detailed guide on how to handle spilled water mac)
2. Your drive could fail and SSDs are notoriously difficult to retrieve data from.
3. You could misplace your Mac or it could be stolen.
4. You encounter Mac malware, a backup will allow you to retrieve your data from before the infestation.
5. Before installing a significant macOS update, you should back up your Mac in case something stops working and you need to restore to the previous version of the operating system.
6. You will be able to access old documents and previous versions of documents.
7. You may believe there is nothing on your Mac that needs to be backed up – perhaps you sync everything in iCloud – but we guarantee you will miss something if you erase your Mac and expect to restore everything to its original state.
8. It makes setting up a new Mac very straightforward. You may quickly recover all your data onto a new Mac and continue as if it were the same computer.
9. It means that, if necessary, you might access your data from another Mac.
10. Certain items, such as photographs, cannot be replaced or recreated, thus they must be stored safely.


What are the best ways to backup your Mac or Macbook?

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There are numerous methods for backing up a Mac, but if you had to choose only one, which would you choose?

Time Machine, Apple’s free backup software, is likely the easiest and most cost-effective alternative. The only related expense would be the purchase of an external hard drive, but with 1TB storage available for less than RM200-RM300, this should not be prohibitively expensive. Here is a collection of the best hard discs.

Time Machine is a good backup solution, but is it the best? A solution that is not stored in the same location as your Mac may be preferable, considering that a fire or water could destroy both your Mac and its backup.

There are other alternatives to Time Machine that you may find more suitable. We examine the finest backup software, including Acronis, ChronoSync, Carbon Copy Cloner, Carbonite, and SuperDuper, individually.


Method 1 : Time Machine Backup

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Apple includes Time Machine, its own backup programme, as part of macOS. It is a very user-friendly solution. Plug in an external storage device, such as a hard disc or solid-state drive, and begin Time Machine backups. We offer a comprehensive guide on backing up your Mac using Time Machine.

Time Machine will create a versioned backup of your Mac, which means it will store hourly backups for the previous 24 hours, daily backups for the previous month, and weekly backups for each month. You can therefore recover a prior version of a document if necessary.

Not only does having a versioned backup protect you if something goes wrong with your Mac, but it also protects you against user mistake (saving over a document for example). Additionally, Time Machine’s tight integration with macOS is a plus. A Time Machine backup facilitates the transfer of all data, settings, and applications from one Mac to another. It is also really easy to use.

Time Machine’s only significant drawback is that you must remember to connect in your hard drive, or else nothing will be backed up. However, you can set up Time Machine on a NAS drive for a wireless backup, but it may be a bit slower. You’ll also need a substantial amount of storage because Time Machine incremental backups consume more space than the entirety of your Mac’s data. We recommend utilising a storage device with at least four times the capacity of your Mac.

How to Backup Your Mac With Time Machine

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Here is a step by step guide to backup your mac with Time Machine.

1. Connect hard drive or solid state drive (alternatively you can use a NAS drive).
2. Your Mac should display a pop out asking if you wish to use the drive with Time Machine. Select Use as Backup Disk from the menu.
3. If you do not notice the warning, ensure that the drive is formatted appropriately; it must be formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
4. If you still do not see the message, select Backup Disk from System Preferences > Time Machine.
Select the storage device and click the Use Disk button.


Method 2 : Using iCloud To Backup Your Mac

With iPhones and iPads, you may use iCloud to save a backup of your device from which you can restore it. If you purchase a new iPhone, you may restore all of your settings and data using iCloud backup.

If you hoped to back up your Mac to Apple’s iCloud instead of an external hard drive, you’ll be disappointed: you cannot back up your entire Mac to iCloud, and iCloud is not compatible with Time Machine. However, iCloud can still be utilised to back up a portion of your Mac’s data.

You can automatically sync specific files from your Mac to iCloud; however, you should not consider this a backup, as there will be no previous version of the file if you delete or modify it. This is a synchronisation, not a backup. However, having your files synchronised to iCloud is advantageous since you can access them from any Apple device (and even from a PC if you go via iCloud.com).

Included among the files that can be synchronised in this manner are all files on your Desktop and in your Documents folder. If you use applications such as Pages and Numbers, your documents will be saved to the cloud, and your Mail and Messages can also be kept in the cloud.

Apple requires a monthly subscription fee for iCloud storage. The following are the monthly subscription fees:

  • 50GB iCloud Storage : RM3.90 Per Month
  • 200GB iCloud Storage : RM11.90 Per Month
  • 2TB iCloud Storage : RM39.90 Per Month

To find out more about iCloud Storage Plans, you can refer here.

As stated previously, you may utilise iCloud to back up a portion of your Mac’s data by simply transferring it to your iCloud Drive.

How to sync your Mac to iCloud

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1. On your Mac, launch System Preferences and click iCloud.
2. If you haven’t already, sign in to iCloud.
3. Check the box next to iCloud.
4. Select the Options checkbox within the iCloud row.
5. Check the box next to everything you want to keep in iCloud, including your Desktop folder, Pages documents, and System Preferences.

How to backup your mac to iCloud

This is not automated in the same way as the sync, but it’s a good idea to copy any data that isn’t being synced over to iCloud from time to time. Here’s how to do that:

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1. Open finder
2. Click on iCloud Drive folder in the left panel of the finder window.
3. Open A Second Finder Window and pick any folder or files that isn’t backed up to iCloud.
4. Now you can copy that data into iCloud drive.

Now, not only will you be able to view the data on any of your Apple devices or even on a non-Apple device via the web, but you will also be able to recover it if something goes wrong with your Mac. It is also an excellent method for obtaining an offline backup.


Method 3 : Utilising Other Cloud Backup Services

If you are seeking for a solution to sync and exchange files, there are numerous alternatives to iCloud. You may already utilise Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, other cloud storage services preferred.

Rather of backing up all of your data, these solutions are typically employed for sharing files with coworkers or acquaintances or storing information that everyone can collaborate on. You can subscribe to data plans that allow you to save all of your data in the cloud, similar to iCloud, but you would not be able to readily download a clone of your Mac if it were lost.

How to backup your mac to Google Drive, Dropbox or One Drive

1. If you need to back up a few files, Dropbox, One Drive, or Google Drive may be a suitable option. You’ll be able to access the data from any device, and you’ll have an off-site backup for a cheap fee.In the case of Dropbox, sign up for an account on this page, then download and install the software. (Or sign in to your existing account if you’re already a member.)

2. Once the software has been installed on your Mac, launch Dropbox to access the web interface where you can copy your files.

3. Click Upload Files or Upload Folder on the right, go to the folder you wish to upload, and then click Choose. Wait as the folder is uploaded.

4. Additionally, you may drag and drop your files and folders into Dropbox using the Finder. When Dropbox is installed on a Mac, a Dropbox folder will appear under Favorites in the Finder. Simply drag and drop files into this folder, and they will be backed up to Dropbox and accessible from any other computer or iOS device with Dropbox installed.


Method 4 : Cloning Your Hard Drive

As with Time Machine, you may use the backup disc – or clone – to recover your Mac in the event of a failure and to recover a previous version of a document or a deleted photo. In addition, just as with Time Machine, you must remember to plug in your external hard drive for the backup.

A clone differs from a Time Machine backup in that it can be booted from, so you could connect it to another Mac and boot up from it without recovering your Mac, which could be handy as an interim solution. You cannot use Time Machine in this manner.

However, recovering your Mac from a clone is no longer as straightforward as it once was. Beginning with Catalina and culminating with Big Sur and the introduction of the M1 Mac, Apple’s organisation of startup volume has evolved over the previous few years.

Apple now divides the drive in half, separating writeable data from the system volume (which is read-only and is where all your system settings and all the things macOS needs to work are stored). Not only is this system volume read-only, but it is also sealed, which means that if the seal is broken – which would occur if you attempt to boot from an external disc – the volume will be invalidated.

There are some solutions that backup software makers have devised to circumvent this issue, but recovering a Mac from a backup is not as reliable as it once was, not least because Apple could alter things again, rendering your bootable clone obsolete. Therefore, recovering from a clone is no longer the optimal method for restoring your Mac after a calamity.

Nonetheless, the data volume can be backed up. To accomplish this, you might use Disk Utility to clone the Data volume to a disc image or a drive. Other alternatives include:

Carbon Copy Cloner ($39.99 / RM 178.66, 30 days free trial) has developed from its original function of making bootable clones. You can schedule backups or have them triggered by events, such as the insertion of a drive. Similar to Time Machine, backups are incremental.

ChronoSync ($49.99 / RM223.33) can be used to generate clones and archives of the Data volume, as well as synchronise folders on your Mac with another disc or computer.

SuperDuper ($29.63 / RM132.37) – Create bootable clones and Smart Update Time Machine backups. Apple silicon native, the most recent version of SuperDuper adds support for making bootable clones on Big Sur and Monterey Macs.

How to Clone Your Mac

The method you use to clone your Mac will vary according on the software you use to back up your Mac, the Mac you possess, and the version of macOS it’s running – see also clone. It may not be possible, however if your Mac can generate a clone, you can anticipate something along these lines:

1. Connect your external storage device.

2. Before use the drive, it may be necessary to format or reformat it. In this scenario, launch Disk Utility, pick the external drive, click Erase, select macOS Extended (Journaled) from the list of available formats, then click Erase again.

3. Launch your cloning programme.

4. Almost certainly, the software will include an option to ‘Copy’ the contents of your Mac’s internal storage to the external disc. You will need to be mindful of what you may replicate – ensure that you copy all files, for example, otherwise your clone may not be bootable.

5. Before the copy begins, you may be required to enter a password and confirm that you wish to delete all data from the external device.
6. Expect the cloning process to take some time; when it is complete, click OK.

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