How to back up your Mac

Learn how to create a backup of the files on your Mac.

Use Time Machine to back up automatically

Time Machine is the built-in backup feature of your Mac. If you have a USB drive or other storage device, Time Machine can use it to automatically back up all of your files, including apps, music, photos, email, and documents. You can then use your backup to recover your files, including older files, files that have been deleted, or files that are no longer accessible.

Sync and store data with iCloud

You can also use iCloud to sync and access data across all of your devices that are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID. iCloud keeps your photos, videos, contacts, calendars, notes, passwords, and more safe, automatically backed up, and available anywhere you go.

  1. Sign in to iCloud.

  2. Use iCloud settings to set up which of your apps sync and store data with iCloud.

  3. Use iCloud Drive to store other files in iCloud, including files in your Desktop and Documents folders.

Storing files in iCloud uses storage space in your iCloud storage plan. If you reach your iCloud storage limit, you can buy more iCloud storage directly from your Apple device or make more iCloud storage available. You can also archive or make copies of the information stored in iCloud so that you have an extra copy of that information.

Manually copy files to another storage device

Manually back up files like photos, videos, and documents by simply dragging them from your Mac to a USB drive or other external storage device. To restore them, drag them back to your Mac.

Use a third-party backup utility

Other backup utilities are widely available from the App Store and other sources. Some are designed to back up all of your data; others back up specific kinds of files, such as photos or email. Some are designed to back up to a USB drive or other external storage device; others can back up to a cloud-based service. Follow the instructions included with the utility.

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