How to back up my Mac to iCloud

Asya Karapetyan
Content marketer, who specializes in Mac how-to guides
April 29, 2024
7 minutes to read

If you want to back up your Mac without an external hard drive, using iCloud is a great solution. From this article you’ll learn how to back up your Mac to iCloud correctly.

backup mac icloud


  1. Why do I need to back up my Mac?
  2. How to back up computer to iCloud
  3. FAQs about backups

Before you start

Before backing up your computer data, we recommend clearing out duplicate files on your computer so that they do not take up valuable space in iCloud unnecessarily. You can easily find and remove duplicate files on a Mac, including in the iCloud Photo library, with a free application from Nektony called Duplicate File Finder.

Duplicate File Finder is the most accurate utility for locating duplicates. It also allows you to organize your folders by finding similar folders and merging them.


Duplicate File Finder

Free Download

Why do I need to back up my Mac?

Even if Mac computers are the safest, you still don’t have a 100% guarantee of the security of the data on your computer. Your system can be negatively affected by various factors, including malware, system crashes, update failure, accidental deletion, and more. To avoid losing your data, you should back up your disk.

Making a backup means creating a copy of all your data. You can use this backup to restore important files if something goes wrong on your system or if you lose your computer. Once you back up Mac to iCloud, you can restore your backup data onto any Apple computer using your iCloud account. In other words, this backup is an online copy of your device’s information.

After you set up iCloud to back up files, it can work automatically. Even though Apple provides only 5 GB of free storage space, you can upgrade your plan to increase the storage space available for backups.

For a full backup (for example, on an external hard drive), Apple recommends a storage space twice the size of what you use on your machine. However, iCloud backup tends to include less data than external drive backups because it only backs up certain files and data, not all the data, programs, and settings on your system. You won’t need as much iCloud space as you would on an external hard drive, but you’ll likely still need more than the free 5 GB of storage that every user can access by default.

How to back up Mac to iCloud

Before you start the process of backing up your data, we recommend that you update your macOS since the latest version of macOS is required to prevent any issues during the .

Steps to back up a Mac to iCloud:

  1. Open System Settings.
  2. Click the Apple ID icon.
  3. Click iCloud in the right panel.
  4. Sign in to your iCloud account (if you haven’t already).
  5. Switch on the toggle buttons for all the items you need to back up, including photos, email, contacts, reminders, calendar, notes, Safari, etc. system settings window showing iCloud option
    If you have old versions of operating system, you’ll need ti tick the chekboxes next to the files you want to back up. iCloud window in System Preferences
  6. If you click Options in the iCloud Drive line, you can select which apps can store there. iCloud drive options
  7. You can access iCloud right in the Finder window, allowing you to drag and drop individual files right into the appropriate folder. Anything you drag into thid folder will be automatically saved in iCloud storage. Drag and drop files to the iCloud folder


Now you know how to back up your computer. The backup process time depends on the volume of files you want to back up. If you still have questions or any comments about transferring files to iCloud, please, leave them in the comments section below. 


FAQs about backups to iCloud

Can I back up everything on my Mac to iCloud?

You can use iCloud to store your photos, videos, notes, reminders, calendars, Safari bookmarks, applications’ data, and more. You can also create a complete copy of your data with Time Machine.

How do I back up my MacBook to iCloud?
How do I know if my Mac is backed up to iCloud?
Is it safe to back up my Mac to iCloud?
What are the pros and cons of Mac iCloud backup?
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