What Is Apple Time Machine On Mac? How To Use It

It's no less than a real time machine!

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What Is Time Machine?
Illustration by Writer

The Apple Time machine is a built-in backup feature on your Mac. It regularly takes snapshots of your entire system and saves them on an external drive.

Apple launched Time Machine with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, and it is still there on the latest macOS versions. You can also encrypt a Time Machine backup with a password so you can restore it.

How Does ‘Time Machine’ On Mac Work?

You can attach an external hard disk, AirPort Time Capsule, or use another Mac to take a Time Machine backup.

AirPort Time Capsule is an external wireless backup solution that Apple launched in 2008 and discontinued in 2018.

You can use Time Machine to restore specific files or the entire system. It backs up apps, music, photos, email, and other documents from your Mac, so you won’t miss out on anything.

It takes hourly, daily, and even monthly backups of everything in your system. Time Machine optimizes this process by only backing up files that have changed since the last backup.

Time Machine automatically deletes the oldest backups when your external storage peaks and makes room for the new ones.

Here are a couple of things you should know before making a Time Machine backup.

  • Since it takes regular full-system backups, use at least a 1TB disk external drive.
  • The drive you use will be formatted to APFS.
  • You can use an external AirPort Time Capsule for wireless backups.

How To Take A Time Machine Backup

1. Plug in the external drive and go to System Preferences from the Apple Menu.

1. How to take a time machine backup on Mac

2. Select Time Machine.

2. How to take a time machine backup on Mac

3. Turn on Automatic backups, check ‘Show Time Machine in the menu bar,’ and Choose Select Backup Disk.

3. How to take a time machine backup on Mac- What is Apple Time Machine on Mac

4. Click on the disk you wish to use as a Backup drive and select Use Disk. Check the ‘Encrypt Backups‘ box if you want to password-protect your backups.

4. How to take a time machine backup on Mac

6. Click on the Time Machine icon in the menu bar to get a backup, skip one, or enter Time Machine preferences

5. How to take a time machine backup on Mac- What is Apple Time Machine on Mac

How To Restore Time Machine Backup

To erase your Mac, you can follow these steps to restore it using a Time Machine backup. You can also enter the Time Machine from the Menu bar shortcut and choose to restore an older backup.

1. Summon Spotlight with Command + Space and search for Migration Assistant

1. Restore time machine backup

2. Tap on Continue

2. restore time machine- what is time machine on mac

3. Enter your password and hit Continue

3. Restore time machine backup

4. Select ‘From a Mac, Time Machine Backup, or Startup Disk’ and follow the on-screen instructions.

4. Restore time machine backup

And that’s it. Now you know Time Machine on Mac, how to take a backup with Time Machine, and how to restore that backup anytime you want.

If you like this simple explainer, check out our Short Bytes section. We take complex tech topics and break them into short, easy-to-understand articles.

Manik Berry

Manik Berry

With a Master’s degree in journalism, Manik writes about big tech and has a keen eye for political-tech news. In his free time, he’s browsing the Kindle store for new stuff read. Manik also adores his motorcycle and is looking for new routes on weekends. He likes tea and cat memes. You can reach him at [email protected]

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