Time Machine is the built-in backup utility of Macs. Aside from being free, it offers a simple way to back up all your files and programs and move them to another Mac as needed.
The Apple Time Capsule seemed like a great idea when it was unveiled about a decade ago. It was a Time Machine network backup target that also embedded a Wi-Fi gateway and ethernet sharing. A good connection between the Time Machine backup disk and your Mac is the key to fix macOS recovery stuck at searching for Time Machine backup disk. Disconnecting and reconnecting the backup drive may be helpful. Time Machine on Mac is a unique backup app in a sense that the software captures an hourly snapshot of the data on your device and saves it on an external drive. It will continue taking snapshots of your data until the drive is filled up. Time Machine currently won’t back up to an APFS formatted drive. So if you want to use an APFS formatted external hard drive for Time Machine Backup. You’ll need to reformat it as HFS+ (Mac OS Extended (Journaled)). What If My Macs External Drive For Time Machine Is NTFS Formatted? NTFS is a file format for Windows PCs.
MacMyDay welcome guest columnist Al Abdukadirov, founder of MacMyths.com
Al’s articles will have tips, hints and information regarding the Apple and Mac environment.
What’s Time Machine on Mac?
By: Al Abdukadirov/MacMyths.com
What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “Time Machine”?
Maybe a 2002 sci-fi movie about time traveling. Perhaps the 1895 novel written by H.G. Wells.
However, in the Apple world, Time Machine is not about traveling into the future.
It’s about going back in time and restoring the files on your Mac even if they were modified or deleted from the computer.
The Time Machine is a program that backs up the data on the Mac.
Why do you need to back up the data?
Imagine you are playing a computer game. You passed 16 levels, and suddenly your hero was destroyed. If you were lucky and saved the game after the 15th level, you can go back to the savepoint, and start the last level again. If you didn’t save anything, then you have to go over all 16 levels.
Similarly, backup utilities save your time when something happens: the disk crashed, a new update was installed, the file gets accidentally deleted. If you have a backup taken at the right time, you can use a history tree, identify the point when the change happened, and restore data to the state before the accident.
The first thing you need for the Time Machine is storage. It is possible to store backups on the primary storage of your Mac. In fact, by default, the Time Machine does store all snapshots on the primary disk if you didn’t specify otherwise.
But I suggest against it for the following reasons:
1. If the primary storage fails, then any backup stored on it will be gone as well as all data on the disk. What’s the point of having multiple copies if you can’t use them?
2. If you back up regularly (recommended), the snapshots will quickly fill the space on your disk, and you wouldn’t even know why can’t you install a new app anymore.
So, you need an external device. Most people use external hard drives to store their backups. What’s good about Time Machine is that it automatically deletes older backups when there is not enough space to save the new ones.
For instance, if you have 2TB external hard drive and it is almost full, then the app will start deleting the oldest snapshots, possibly saved a year or so ago. So, if you have a small disk, it limits how far back you can go.
The problem with external drives is that they are not convenient when used with MacBooks. After all, nobody has external devices plugged continuously in, MacBooks supposed to be mobile. iMacs and Mac minis, on the other hand, are perfect in this regard because they are static.
So, ideally, you want something it always stays connected as soon as you come home with your MacBook.
For a long time, Apple had AirPort Time Capsules, which had Wi-Fi access points. And Time Machine would back up to the capsule whenever it can connect to it (which happens automatically in the home office).
Unfortunately, Apple discontinued Time Capsules years ago and didn’t care to provide alternative solutions.
If you need a recommendation on alternatives to the Apple Time Capsule, Click here to check out my article about Time Machines. If you need advice on a good dependant external hard drive, click here to check out my article about the most reliable hard drive for Mac.
Making backups with Time Machine
In this post, we will assume that you are using an external hard drive to store backups.
First, you need to make sure that it properly formatted.
· Start the Disk Utility app by pressing the Command key and the Space Bar simultaneously. Type Disk Utility in the Spotlight Search bar and hit Enter.
· In the Disk Utility window select the drive you want to format
· Click on Erase button in the top menu
· When asked, type in the name of the drive, e.g., My Backups.
· Then pick the right format: Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
· And click Erase.
Once the format process is finished, the drive is ready for backups.
Now start Time Machine. Again press Command and Space Bar and type Time Machine.
I like to enable the “Show Time Machine in menu bar” option, so I can always access it from the bar in the top right of the screen.
Now, all you need now is to select the disk you want to save the future snapshots on.
If you turned on the “Back up Automatically” option, then Mac will start backups by itself as long as the drive is connected.
What Is Time Machine For Mac
Note: the very first backup usually takes a very long time. How long depends on the number of files you already have on the computer. You may see a message “preparing backup” for a long time, but this is normal.
There are other questions about creating backups, which I am not going to go over here. Click here to check out my article here for more.
Restoring files with Time Machine
There are two main approaches to restore data on Macs:
1. Full restore
2. File restore
With the full restore, the drive will be completely wiped out, and the old image of your Mac will be restored. This is a very drastic measure and usually used in the following cases:
1. You’ve got a virus. The best way to remove the virus is to restore the disk to an image before the virus sneaked into your system.
2. The macOS got upgraded, and you want to revert back.
3. You want to restore the image of the old Mac to a new computer.
In case you delete a file or changed a part of it and now want something that was in the document two weeks ago, you can use Time Machine again.
1. Click on the Time Machine icon in the top right corner of the screen.
2. Click on Enter Time Machine line in the pop-up menu
3. The Time Machine will open a history of snapshots you took so far. You can go back to the date when the file either existed or had the data you need.
4. Select the file and click on the Restore button
5. If the file with the same name exists, then you will see a pop-up confirmation dialog asking whether you want to Keep the Original (if you don’t want to replace it), Keep Both (if you want to have both copies of the file), or Replace.
Other ways to back the data
By far, my most favorite way to store documents is to upload them to the cloud. With data in the cloud, I can access them from my Mac, phone, or browser.
DropBox also keeps a history of changes, so you can always go back and restore the older versions of the files stored.
Two drawbacks of DropBox are:
1. Limited storage. The basic free version comes with merely 2GB of storage. However, you can always get a paid subscription and get as much space as you need.
2. DropBox only saves files. You cannot back up the entire Mac image and restore it when needed.
If you are thinking of using cloud storage, I suggest considering BackBlaze. It is cloud storage, which costs $60/year, way cheaper than DropBox Professional that costs $199/year.
Other nice features of BackBlaze are:
· The ability to back up external drives
· Private encryption key
· Unlimited storage (compare to 3TB limit of DropBox)
For any questions or help, please contact your MacMyDay tech support by clicking here:
About the author:
What It Time Machine For Mac Os
Al Abdukadirov – is a founder of MacMyths.com. You can reach him at
Disclaimer: Al Abdukadirov is the founder of MacMyths.com. The views expressed here are his and they do not necessarily reflect the views of MacMyDay Inc. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we will earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.
Do you wish to learn how to delete Time Machine backups as your storage is full? Time Machine saved the backups on the external drive, and there are times when you want it clear. If you do not know how to delete Time Machine backups, here is the solution for you. This blog post covers the simple method explaining how to delete backups from a Time Machine. First, let us find out what it is and how it operates.
What Is a Time Machine Backup In Mac?
Time Machine is the in-built feature of Mac, which helps in taking automatic backups. Time Machine backup can help you keep a complete backup of the system files, apps, emails, photos, and other documents. If the Time Machine is turned on, it will automatically take backups of your system. This backup is helpful when you face a system crash or need to look at the old backups. These backups are all saved up in an external device. It can be anything from a USB, Thunderbolt, FireWire drive. Whenever the disk is full, Time Machine deletes the oldest backups. It will regularly keep a backup of the past 24 hours, which is done on an automatic hourly process. It can keep up the backup for each day in a month as well.
How To Delete Backups From Time Machine?
Step 1: Open Menu Bar and then go to the Time Machine icon.
In case you do not see the Time Machine icon on the menu bar, it might not have been added there. No worries, go to the Apple Menu.
Here you can click on the System Preferences.
What Is Time Machine For Mac
Now you can easily view the Time Machine icon.
To add a Time Machine icon on the Menu bar, right-click the option to “ Show Time Machine in Menu bar.”
Go to the menu bar; click on GO. Now you will see the multiple options in the drop-down menu.
Click on Applications.
Step 2: As you will view the Time Machine, you need to click on it.
This will instantly open up the Time Machine application for you, and you will be able to see the old backups on Mac.
Step 3: Once you have opened the backup on Time Machine, you can proceed to the next step. This is how to delete the Time Machine backups, using the Finder.
Step 4: Finder will help you clear the Time Machine backup and make space on the external drive. It lets you delete files and folders individually, but they have to be in the Backups.backupdb folder. Other items can not be deleted individually, so you have to delete the backups from Time Machine entirely.
Restore From Time Machine Mac
Note: Do not use any other app like Terminal to delete backups from the Backups.backupdb folder.
Remember, if you are trying to make space in the external drive, and that is the reason behind clearing the old backups, you can reduce the storage. This can be done before the backup of Time Machine. One must always clear the junk and duplicates present on the storage. This will help you to keep an organized backup on Time Machine as well.
Restore File Time Machine Apple
We suggest using Disk Clean Pro, a Mac cleaning application at the most affordable rate ever. This is a must-have cleaning app for your Mac, which gives you some amazing features to optimize Mac. It runs a complete scan of the disk on Mac and then shows the junk, duplicates, old downloads, and other miscellaneous data like mail downloads. This will help you clear out much space on your Mac, and thus, when the Time Machine backup is formed; it will not be cluttered. Corsair memory for mac mini. Thus, making more space in the external drive to use.
When you are willing to clear the external drive space, you learn how to delete backups from Time Machine. This simple procedure will help you in deleting the unnecessary backups. If you are clearing your Mac for unwanted data, using DiskClean Pro also proves to be a great help. It will reduce the files uploaded in the backup for Time Machine. Download it now on Mac to keep it clutter-free.
We hope that this method helps you understand how to delete Time Machine backups on Mac. We would like to know your views on this post to make it more useful. Your suggestions and comments are welcome in the comment section below. Share the information with your friends and others by sharing the article on social media.
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Apple Time Machine
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