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Learn how to create a backup of the files on your Mac.
You can use Time Machine, the built-in backup feature of your Mac, to automatically back up all of your files, including apps, music, photos, email, documents, and system files. When you have a backup, you can restore files from your backup if the original files are ever deleted from your Mac, or the hard disk (or SSD) in your Mac is erased or replaced.
To create backups with Time Machine, all you need is an external storage device. After you connect the device and select it as your backup disk, Time Machine automatically makes hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups for all previous months. The oldest backups are deleted when your backup disk is full.
Connect one of the following external storage devices, sold separately. Learn more about backup disks that you can use with Time Machine.
When you connect an external drive directly to your Mac, you might be asked if you want to use the drive to back up with Time Machine. Select Encrypt Backup Disk (recommended), then click Use as Backup Disk.
If Time Machine doesn't ask to use your drive, follow these steps to add it manually:
If the disk you selected isn't formatted as required by Time Machine, you're prompted to erase the disk first. Click Erase to proceed. This erases all information on the backup disk.
After you select a backup disk, Time Machine immediately begins making periodic backups—automatically and without further action by you. The first backup may take a long time, depending on how many files you have, but you can continue using your Mac while a backup is underway. Time Machine backs up only the files that changed since the previous backup, so future backups will be faster.
To start a backup manually, choose Back Up Now from the Time Machine menu in the menu bar. Use the same menu to check the status of a backup or skip a backup in progress.