How to Back up your Mac

There is a great inbuilt feature included in the Mac OS that helps with automatically backing up all files, photos, music, e-mails, documents and system files! You can use these backups to restore your data if needed; this will also come in handy if you lose your Mac or it gets misplaced or damaged.


  • External hard drive
    • This can be an external USB drive
    • Please note the size of your Mac will determine the drive size requirements
  • Network Storage Device (NAS)

Setting up the backup (automatically):

  • When you plug in your hard drive to your Mac you maybe prompted to setup the device
  • It is recommended to “encrypt” the backup hard disk
    • This will ensure that only those who have the password to the disk will be able to access it
    • Please note: if you forget the password, the data is unrecoverable

If the backup device does not set up automatically, you can set it up manually using the steps below!

Setting up the backup (manually):

  • Select the  symbol in the top left corner of your screen
  • Select “System Preferences”
  • Select “Time Machine”
  • Click “Select backup disk”
  • From the menu that opens, select your external hard drive that you’ve just plugged in
  • This is your chance to choose to have your hard drive encrypted by selecting “Encrypt backups” at the bottom of the window
  • If your disk isn’t formatted correctly (if you’ve used the disk with a Windows computer previously) or it hasn’t come in the supported format for Macs, you’ll be prompted to format your disk
    • **Please note: formatting your disk will DELETE all data that is on your disk**

Your backups will now take place on an automatic schedule as configured by Apple. We will go through how to make changes to these backup settings in a future post!

For now, some notes to take away are:

  1. Once your backup disk has been set up using the guide above, future backups should start automatically when you plug in your backup disk. 
  2. The first backup can take some time to complete, but you can continue to use your Mac during this time (we would recommend that you plug in the charging cable, so it doesn’t lose battery during the backup)
  3. After the initial backup, all future backups should be much shorter in time frame as they only backup the files that you have added/changed.


We hope this information has been informative and helps you to ensure that your data is safe and secure! 

If you have any questions regarding these steps or would like help selecting the right external hard drive for you, leave a comment below and we will be in touch!