Setting up Time Machine in Mac OS, This is how Time Machine works

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The Time machine back-up utility is an essential part of the macOS operating system.

Time machine backs up your files incrementally to a specified location, such as an external hard drive. These files can later be searched and restored by running Time Machine.

Setting up Time Machine

Connect an external hard drive to your Mac via USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt. The external HD must be at least the size of your Mac hard drive. The larger the external drive, the farther back in time you can store back-ups.

Open the System Preferences and click Time Machine.

time machine mac os x

Click the Select Disk button, now you will see a window with an overview of the connected stations. Select the drive on which you want to save your back-ups.

If your external drive has not yet been formatted as ‘Mac OS Extended (Journaled),’ Time Machine will suggest you erase it and reformat the drive.

If you choose to reformat your hard disk, all data currently on the drive will be erased.

You may receive a pop-up asking if you want to use the attached drive with Time Machine. Click on

Decide later, so that the Time Machine settings can first be configured according to your wishes.

backup disk time machine mac

Once your external drive is properly connected, you can always access Time Machine by accessing the system settings.

Create Time Machine back-up

There is an option to encrypt back-ups. To activate it, click the Select Disk button, and then choose your Time Machine drive in the Available Disks section.

encrypt time machine backup mac

Check the Encrypt Backups option, and then click Use Disk.

You will be invited to add a password and a hint in case you forget it. Do this, and no one will have access to your back-ups without this password.

create time machine backup

You will now see a window displaying the status of your currently selected drive, which should be used for your Time Machine back-ups. This window will let you know how much space is available, as well as the date of your oldest and last back-up and when the next back-up starts.

By default, Time Machine is configured to back-up all of your
data on your Mac hard drive.

exclude files from time machine backup

Clicking the Options button allows you to add locations on your Mac hard drive that doesn’t need to be backed up.

To exclude a new item, press the ‘+’ icon to display the file browser.

Browse to the file or folder you don’t want to include in your back-ups and click the Exclude button.

To remove an item from the list of excluded back-up items, click the item once to highlight it and then click the icon.

You can cancel or save your changes to return to the previous screen. The item you deleted will be removed from the list and backed up again with
your Mac’s next Time Machine back-up.

To retrieve a file from Time Machine, choose Enter Time Machine from the mac menu bar.

enter time machine settings

Choose the file you are looking for from the window.

enter time machine files to restore

You can get an older version of a current file or a file you have deleted. When you have found it, highlight it and press Reset.

To navigate through multiple back-ups, press the arrows to select the date.

It is important that you keep your Time Machine back-ups separate from your other Mac data. For example, never partition a hard drive and store data on one partition and Time Machine back-ups on the other. If you do, both your data and your back-ups will be lost if the hard drive fails.

Use CleanMyMac X to make Time Machine back-ups on your Mac smaller and save valuable space.

I hope this has helped you. Thank you for reading.

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