Five Best Methods to Back up a Mac

We cannot stress enough the importance of backing up your files today’s digital world. Although Mac comes with a Trash tool to store deleted files, there are still chances that some files may have been lost in the Trash.

This article will show you five ways to back up your Mac even if it is experiencing booting-up issues.

How to back up a Mac that won’t boot

It is an extremely frustrating situation when your Mac does not start up correctly. This could be caused by software conflicts or hardware failures, which can lead to permanent data loss. Before you attempt to get the Mac to boot again, you should back up all Mac files. The options are limited for a non-booting Mac.

Disk Utility from Recovery Mode

We are using macOS 10. 14 on our Mac mini. The interface may be slightly different if you’re using an older OS X version.

  1. Connect an external drive to the Mac and make sure it has enough spare capacity to back up your Mac.
  2. Restart the Mac and immediately press down Command + R keys simultaneously.
  3. Release the keys until you see the Apple logo.
  4. Wait the Mac to boot into Recovery Mode.
  5. Select Disk Utility and click on Continue button.
  6. Select the disk you want to back up (usually named as Macintosh HD).
  7. Select File in the top menu bar and then go to New Image and Image from Macintosh HD (or your disk name).
  8. Choose your external hard drive as the location and keep anything else as default.
  9. Click Save.
  10. Wait until you are notified that the backup process completes.
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Target Disk Mode

Target Disk Mode is another way to back up files on a Mac that won’t start up. Target Disk Mode requires two compatible Macs. One of the Macs will appear as an external hard drive on the other, after being connected via Thunderbolt or FireWire ports.

Target disk Mode will not work if the Mac startup disk has been corrupted or encrypted with T2 security chips.

  1. Connect the two Mac computers with a FireWire or Thunderbolt cable.
  2. Restart the unbootable Mac and immediately press down the T key.
  3. Transfer files from the disk icon that appears on the other Mac’s desktop.
  4. Eject the disk by dragging it to the Trash (Trash icon will become Eject when you are dragging the disk).

Note : A Mac that can be started up can also have its data backed up using Target Disk Mode. Go to System Preferences and select Startup Disk. Next, choose Target Disk Mode.

How to back up a Mac that can boot up

A Mac that is working has many options for backing up its files.

Time Machine

Time Machine, the built-in program that allows you to back up and restore Mac files. We will show you how to use it for backing up your Mac.

  1. Connect an external drive to the Mac and make sure the external drive has enough capacity and is HFS+ formatted. The macOS will format the drive into HFS+ if it isn’t HFS+ formatted once it is used for backup.
  2. Open Time Machine through Apple logo and System Preferences.
  3. Click the lock to make changes and input correct administrator password.
  4. Click Select Backup Disk and select the attached external drive.
  5. Select Back Up Automatically.
  6. Click Options to exclude folders or files from backups if you want.
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Cloud drive

In addition to using local drives to backup files, it is also a smart idea to use a cloud storage service. iCloud from Apple automatically backs up files and apps on all Apple devices that log into the same Apple ID. You will need to pay each month for additional storage. You can also sync files to the cloud with desktop apps if you buy services from other providers.

  1. Find a cloud storage provider you would like to use.
  2. Go to its official website.
  3. Sign up with an email account and password.
  4. Decide if you need a paid plan.
  5. Download its desktop app and set up auto-sync.

Migration Assistant

Migration assistant is an integrated software that allows Mac users to transfer files from one Mac to another. It not only moves files, but can also migrate settings and apps.

On Your Mac:

  1. Connect to your computer to another Mac.
  2. Open Migration Assistant from Finder, Utilities and Applications.
  3. Click Continue.
  4. Select the option to transfer files to another Mac.
  5. Click Continue.

On another Mac:

  1. Open Migration Assistant too.
  2. Click Continue.
  3. Select the option to transfer from a Mac, Time Machine backup, or startup disk.
  4. Click Continue.

Then follow the instructions on both Macs for file transfer. You will then have another set files on another Mac.

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Losing valuable data can be very frustrating. There are many ways to back them up today. After you have set it up correctly, cloud drive or Time Machine will upload and update the files automatically. Although they are more difficult to use in some situations, Target Disk Mode and Disk Utility system images can still be extremely useful. Don’t forget backups if you plan to use Target Disk Mode and Migration Assistant.