Keeping your Mac backed up is probably one of the most important things you can do as a Mac user. Think of it along the lines of car insurance – you buy car insurance because it'd be a pretty good thing to have if you end up in an accident. You might never get into an accident. But peace of mind itself is pretty valuable - and so is not having to lose money and time paying for an accident yourself. So, if your Mac crashes and deletes all your files, wouldn't have all your files saved somewhere else be a pretty great thing? Think of the amount of anguish you'd save with a backup of your files.
One of the most important times to back up your Mac is before a major OS X update, like OS X Sierra. A new OS X means a lot of new features and changes – you want to make sure that anything on your current machine that may not be fully compatible can still be accessed readily. Plus, you never know if an update might fail, potentially wiping your hard drive or corrupting files.
What should I backup?
If you don’t want to worry about forgetting something important, you can just backup your entire drive! And it's easier than ever to backup your files using the Time Machine utility. You just need an external drive (like a Time Capsule) and a few spare minutes.
Backing Up Your Mac with Time Machine
- Open Time Machine, located in the Applications folder. If you’ve never used this app, after this first step you’ll have to click on “Set Up Time Machine.”
- Next, on the right side of the Time Machine window, click on “Select Backup Disk.”
- Choose the drive to which you'd like to backup your files and click “Use Disk.”
- Now, click the “On” switch on the left-hand side of the main window of Time Machine.
- Over on the right, under the name of the storage device, there are three lines that say, “Oldest backup,” “Latest Backup,” and “Next backup.” Your new backup should start within the next 5 minutes.
And that's it! It's so easy, you shouldn't have any excuse doing this every once in a while. Your pictures, files, and important documents will thank you – and you'll thank yourself.