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How To Set Up And Start Using Time Machine On Mac

Apple’s built-in Time Machine app in macOS Monterey makes backing up Mac data simple. You’ll need an external storage device to create backups with Time Machine.

Time Machine automatically creates hourly backups for the previous 24 hours, daily backups for the previous month, and weekly backups for all previous months after you connect the storage device and select it as your backup disk. When your backup disk is full, the oldest backups are deleted.

How to set up Time Machine

You can use any of the following backup methods, as explained by Apple support (opens in a new tab):

  • External drive, such as a USB or Thunderbolt drive, connected to your Mac Network-attached storage (NAS) device that supports Time Machine over SMB
  • AirPort Time Capsule or external drive connected to an AirPort Time Capsule or AirPort Extreme Base Station as a Time Machine backup destination Mac (802.11ac)

To begin using Time Machine for backup purposes on your Mac, follow these steps.

How to Enable Mac Time Machine Backups

  1. From the Apple menu, select System Preferences.
  2. Select the Time Machine icon.
  3. Choose a backup disk.
  4. Choose which disk to use as a Time Machine backup.
  5. Check the Back Up Automatically box to back up your Mac to the disks of your choice.

Your hard drive is now ready to accept Time Machine backups.

What is the procedure for restoring files from a Time Machine backup?

  1. From the Apple menu, select System Preferences.
  2. Select the Time Machine icon.
  3. In the menu bar, check the box next to Show Time Machine.
  4. After selecting the Time Machine icon in the Menu bar, click Enter Time Machine.
  5. Locate the problematic file or folder and select Restore.

You’re all set! That file will be copied back to its original location on your hard drive by Time Machine.

Continue your journey

Do you need a new backup drive? Check out our favorite external hard drives for Mac, as well as those that use USB-C. You’ll be glad you did!

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