Other ways to back up and restore files

Time Machine is the built-in backup feature of your Mac, but you can also use other methods to back up and restore files.

Whether or not you use Time Machine to back up your Mac, you can use third-party backup apps and services that are available from the App Store or other sources.

Use third-party apps

Some backup utilities are designed to back up specific kinds of files, such as photos or email. Others are designed to back up all of your data. When you create a backup, it's best to back up to a different disk, such as an external USB drive, Thunderbolt drive, or FireWire drive. For details about how to use a backup utility to back up your files or restore them from the backup, follow the instructions included with the app.

Use cloud-based services

Cloud-based services don't require you to connect an external hard drive to your Mac. For example, iCloud can automatically store your photos, calendars, contacts, notes, passwords, and more. And it includes iCloud Drive, which can store documents, desktop files, and other files of your choosing. To access those files, you just need to be signed in to iCloud. Other cloud-based services are available from third parties.

Use the Finder to drag files

You can also back up files like documents, pictures, and movies by simply dragging them to a different disk, such as an external USB drive, Thunderbolt drive, or FireWire drive. To restore them, just drag them back.

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