macOS Sierra: Restore items backed up with Time Machine

Restore items backed up with Time Machine

If you use Time Machine to back up your Mac, you can easily get back lost items or recover older versions of files.

You can use Time Machine within many apps. If you have iCloud Drive turned on, you can recover older versions of documents in iCloud.

  1. Open a window for the item you want to restore; to recover a document in iCloud, open the app used to create the document, choose File > Open, then click iCloud Drive (in the Favorites section of the Finder sidebar).

    For example, to recover a file you accidentally deleted from your Documents folder, open the Documents folder. To recover an email message, open your inbox in Mail.

    If you’re missing an item from the desktop, you don’t need to open a window.

  2. Use Launchpad to view and open apps and open Time Machine. A message may appear while your Mac connects to the backup disk.

    You can also open Time Machine by clicking the Time Machine icon in the menu bar, then choosing Enter Time Machine. If the Time Machine menu isn’t in the menu bar, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Time Machine, then select “Show Time Machine in menu bar.”

  3. Use the arrows and timeline to browse the local snapshots and backups.

    Gray tick marks in the backup timeline

    If you see a pulsing light to semi-dark gray tick mark, it represents a backup that’s still loading or validating on the backup disk.

  4. Select one or more items you want to restore (these can include folders or your entire disk), then click Restore.

    Restored items return to their original location. For example, if an item was in the Documents folder, it’s returned to the Documents folder.

With many apps you can use Time Machine within individual documents so you can examine and read past versions to find the version you want. For more information, see View and restore past versions of documents.

Published Date: Mar 28, 2017
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