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How to back up files on a Mac

We’ll help you keep your files, music, photos and loads more safe.

Backing up files protects precious data from all kinds of danger from computer viruses and malware to bumps and knocks. Time Machine is a handy piece of software on your Mac that saves every file, app, photo and more to a USB hard drive. It's super easy to use, so we'll help you get to grips with it in a few simple steps.

Backing up files using Time Machine

  • Plug in your external hard drive into one of your Mac's USB ports
  • A window should pop up asking if you want to use your hard drive with Time Machine. Tick Encrypt Backup Disk for security and click Use as Backup Disk
  • If you don't see this window, click the Apple icon in the top left of the screen, open up System Preferences and select the Time Machine icon
  • Click Select Backup Disk, pick your external hard drive and then select Use Disk

All set! Time Machine will start to copy all your important information to your hard drive. The first one may take a while, but you can still use your Mac while this happens. So grab a drink, sit back and chill, your precious wedding photos are in safe virtual hands.

Other ways to back up your data

There are plenty of ways you can back up your CVs, wedding photos or the kids’ homework. Services like iCloud and Google Drive store your data online using The Cloud (the what?!), which you can get to whenever you need it.

If you’re new to The Cloud, we can help you out. We’ve got a handy guide showing you the other ways you can transfer your data so you can rest assured your most important bits of information are backed up.