How to Backup Mac to external hard drive with Time Machine?

Time machine helps to Backup Mac to external hard drive.  Mac Time Machine allows you to back up all files to an external disk like hard drive or USB. Those can be restored later or you can see them how they were in the previous.

Mac Time Machine allows you to take below backups and those are safely stored in its destination. Main Backups Time Machine keeps safely.
1. Hourly backups for the past 24 hours
2. Daily backups for the past month
3. Weekly backups for all previous months

Note: The backups that become oldest will be deleted whenever the disk becomes full with all backups.

How to Backup Mac to external hard drive?

Three major steps involved here in making Time Machine to be used properly.
1. Set up Time Machine
2. Back up using Time Machine
3. Restore files stored from Time Machine

Set up Time Machine:

The Time Machine is the best built-in backup feature of Mac OS X. To make use of it, you need some external devices.

External hard drive/disk should be connected to a USB, Fire-wire to the Mac
External hard drive/disk connected to the USB port of an Airport Extreme base station on the network

Whenever you connect an external drive to the USB port of Mac, you will see an alert asking if the drive to be used to take back up with the Time Machine. You will see ‘Decide Later’, ‘Don’t Use’ and ‘Use as Backup Disk’ options. If you select the option ‘Use as Backup Disk’ and if that is encrypted, then all backups will be accessible for the users with the correct password entered only.

Suppose if the Time Machine does not alert to choose a backup disk, then follow the below steps.

1. Select System Preferences from the Apple menu.
2. Then choose Time Machine icon under the System category in the preferences window.
3. click on ‘Select Backup Disk’.

Backup Mac to external hard drive

 4. It shows the options of drives and choose one from them, click on Use Disk to start backup.


 5. More than one drive can be chosen with the option “Add or Remove Backup Disk”.

Back up using Time Machine:

Once the Time Machine set up is done, then Hourly backups for the past 24 hours, Daily backups for the past month and weekly backups for all previous months will take place automatically.


1. If you need to take backup instead of waiting for automatic backup, Back up Now option is available.
2. To make automatic backups stop, you can turn off the Time Machine.
3. Status can be verified and even the items to back up can be excluded by selecting only items required to take back up.
4. First backup takes a long time depending on the number of files.
5. The Time Machine takes backup of files that are changed since from the previous backup and hence the future backups would be much faster.

Restore files stored from Time Machine:

This will be used to restore even specific files or restore everything. To restore specific files, you need to follow the below steps.
1. Click on Time Machine from the dock.
2. Find the specific files to restore
3. Click on restore to recover.


Restore everything:
To restore everything whatever in the backup in your Time Machine backup, need to use OS X Recovery.


If the Time Machine storage becomes full, then a new backup cannot be stored. It starts deleting the oldest backups to make more space available for new backups. For example, if the Time Machine is first activated in 2014 and the disk gets full today, then those first backups from 2014 will start to disappear.


Time machine is the best tool to Backup Mac to an external hard drive. If you are serious about your Mac backup, it is better to store the backup in cloud storage like iCloud or iDrive(75% Discounted link). Because you will never lose data if you had stored it in the cloud.

I hope now you are able to Backup Mac to external hard drive with time machine. Want more Mac tips, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to WhatVwant channel on YouTube for regular updates.

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