Backing up with Time Machine

More of our lives are stored on our computers: work documents, family photos, music collections, home videos, financial reports. Who can afford to lose it all with a slip of the wrist, a stolen laptop or a stray byte written over irreplaceable data?

Every Mac has a built-in backup system called Time Machine. New and changed files are copied every hour while you work. Time Machine retains files you’ve deleted and old versions of documents for months, sometimes years. It’s easy to restore a single file, folder, even an entire computer to any state saved the past.

Time Machine can also use local snapshots – hidden copies & earlier revisions of your files saved to your hard drive. Local snapshots are only kept a day or so, and they won’t help if your drive completely crashes or your computer is lost. That’s why it’s important to make sure Time Machine is set up before you might need it.

More than one Mac? You can share a large drive with several computers by using a special wi-fi router or file server. With wireless networks, being in the same building as the drive may be all it takes for automatic backups and peace of mind.

The Time Machine menu appears in the upper-right corner of the screen – it looks like clock hands with an arrow pointing backward. Don’t see this icon? Click the Apple menu, choose System Preferences and then Time Machine. Check the box to Show Time Machine in the menu bar.

Click the Time Machine menu to see where your computer backs up, the time of the last successful backup of this computer or change backup options. Your Mac backs up every hour when the backup drive is available, or do a backup anytime – just click the Time Machine menu and choose Back Up Now.

Learn how to put Time Machine to work protecting your files:

Learn more about transferring files and backup.

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