How to Use Time Machine on a Mac

Time Machine is a utility that appeared in Mac OS X Leopard. It is intended to prevent loss of files and system damage. When you use Time Machine by default, you will be able to restore the state of your system which you had an hour ago – files, data and settings.

So how to use Time Machine on a Mac?

The standard settings of Time Machine are really simple. Just run the application from Launchpad or find Time Machine in System Preferences. You will see the following window:

How to use time machine

Click the “Select Backup Disk…” button, choose a disk for backups and then click on the “Use disk” button.

Now you can be rest assured about the safety of your data. But there are a couple of important points that you should take into account for a proper and convenient easy work with Time Machine:

Tips for Backups

When you make a backup for the first time, it will take much time, as it will scan absolutely all the files on your hard drive. The subsequent backups will take less time as they only scan and store new files and the changes in some files.
If the allocated space for backups is over, the system deletes old backups replacing them with new ones.
In view of the above, you can use a few tricks:

  1. Keep backups on an external hard drive.
  2. Limit space for Time Machine. Let’s say, you have an external hard drive with 500 GB of space and you want to occupy up to 100 GB of TM. To do this, divide your drive into sections one of which will be 100 GB and it will be configuring TM. So as soon as the size of backups reaches 100GB, the system will start deleting old backups.
  3. There is an option in Time Machine to exclude files and folders from backups. It is a useful feature, for example, if you know that the “Downloads” folder is full of temporary files, it weighs a lot, but the content is not very important. In this case, there is a sense to exclude the Downloads folder from backups.
  4. Set up the required frequency of backups. By default, backups are created every hour. You can change the settings depending on your needs.

That’s all. As you can see, using Time Machine is not difficult. Even if you don’t use Time Machine by default, we recommend that you make a backup before updating your Mac to a new macOS system or when making a deep Startup Disk cleanup.


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