Top 5 Tips | How to Back Up External Hard Drive on Mac

Updated by Daisy on Sep 08, 2023
Written by Rel  | Home > Mac Backup and Recovery

Generally speaking, we always store some photos, videos, PPTs, documents, and other files on the external hard drive. However, these files are unsafe, and the external hard drive will also face the risk of failure, insufficient space, or even loss. If you want to protect your data security fully, you should create a scheduled backup.


This post will introduce 5 methods of how to back up external hard drive on Mac, and support you in creating a backup of an external hard drive quickly and successfully according to the detailed steps and clear screenshots we provided.

Backup External Hard Drive with EaseUS Todo Backup

If you want to find an external hard drive backup method with 3 elements of simplicity, efficiency, and Excellence, EaseUS Todo Backup for Mac will be your most friendly helper.

EaseUS Todo Backup for Mac is a powerful offline backup software specially designed for Mac users. It can deal with the backup of external hard drives, internal disks, systems, files, and even APP data easily.

When the content of your external hard drive increases, it can automatically create the latest data copy for you with its supporting incremental backup mode and help you reduce the burden. Meanwhile, other backup solutions require you to provide additional storage space on your PC or new hard drive, while EaseUS provides you with free cloud space to support the storage of all the backup data.

Now check out the clear tutorial.

Step 1. Launch and run EaseUS Todo Backup for Mac.
Click the first Backup tab or simply click the + button in the bottom-left corner to create a backup project - name the backup project and click OK.

Set up to backup Mac data without Time Machine.

Step 2. Set up the backup destination where you want to store Mac files as backups, automatic backup frequency, etc and click OK.

Backup Mac data without Time Machine.

Step 3. Add files and folders to the backup project.
Click File+ to selectively choose files and folders to add to the backup and click the blue start button to back up your Mac to another drive or external device.

Backup Mac files and data with Time Machine alternative software.

Backup External Hard Drive Manually without Time Machine

In addition to using EaseUS Todo Backup, it is the easiest to back up the external hard drive manually. Without using Time Machine, you only need to rely on the Copy/Paste function provided by the computer to complete the backup successfully.

Step 1. Connect the external hard drive to your MacBook.

Step 2. Press the Command + C and Command + V keys to create the backup to the destination drive.

press keys to create backup

Backup External Hard Drive to iCloud

If you have enough space in the iCloud, you can also use the manual backup method to back up all the data of the external hard drive to the iCloud.

Let's check out the simple method.

Step 1. Connect your external hard drive to your Mac. Open Finder and navigate to iCloud Drive.

navigate to icloud drive

Step 2. Copy the files you choose to backup and paste them into the iCloud Drive

Backup External Hard Drive Using Time Machine

Although the operation of manual backup of external hard drives is very easy, it is a mechanical behavior, after all, without any advanced function support. Fortunately, Apple provides users with a special free backup tool - Time Machine.

Time Machine is a built-in app for macOS. Like EaseUS Todo Backup, it can help you back up documents, photos, and other important files. It can support automatic backup of files on an hourly, daily, and monthly basis, but it does not support user modification frequency, nor does it support the option of cloning a hard drive.

If you’d like to back up an external hard drive using Time Machine, here are steps for you to follow.

Step 1. Connect the external hard drive. Select the System Preferences option on the menu, and click the Time Machine icon to open it.

select system preferences

Step 2. Click the Select Backup Disk button and choose the connected backup drive as the destination.

hit select backup disk option

Step 3. Tick the Back Up Automatically and Show Time Machine in the menu bar options.

tick back up automatically

Step 4. After you finish the setup, Time Machine will start to create the backup of your external hard drive.

Backup External Hard Drive Using Disk Utility

Finally, you can also use the Disk Utility, the storage device manager built into macOS, to back up the external hard drive. Although it has no direct backup function, you can create a copy of the external hard drive through its restore function.

The specific operation process is as follows:

Step 1. Open Finder and navigate to Applications> Utilities> Disk Utility.

find disk utility

Step 2. Set the destination drive you want to store backups to and hit the Restore option.

Step 3. Then a window will pop up. Choose the external hard drive as the source location, and hit Restore.

hit restore button

Step 4. Now, wait for the restore process to end.


This post told you 5 solutions on how to back up an external hard drive on Mac. You can back up external hard drives manually to another disk or iCloud drive, or use Time Machine and Disk Utility as the helper. But honestly, EaseUS Todo Backup for Mac is the best solution for you.


1. Does the time machine backup everything?

No, the Time machine does not back up everything. Although Time Machine is a built-in app for all Mac devices, it cannot back up the content shown below.

No 1. System log files or apps.

No 2. Spotlight indexes.

No 3. Cache files/temporary files.

No 4. Trash contents that are not locally synced.

No 5. Photo library which is located on an external drive.

No 6. iCloud content.

2. How do I back up my entire Mac to an external hard drive without Time Machine?

You can back up your entire Mac to an external hard drive without Time Machine, an effective and powerful backup software EaseUS Todo Backup for Mac will help you to achieve that goal.

EaseUS Todo Backup for Mac supports multiple backup modes and allows you to create a complete Mac backup. As the best alternative to Time Machine, it can also support more advanced functions such as cloning disks and creating disk images. With its help, you can complete all backup operations in a few simple steps.

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EaseUS Todo Backup For Mac

  • Set up an automated backup schedule in stealth mode.
  • Compress backups to save storage space.
  • Encrypt your backup to protect privacy.