How to Back Up Mac | 4 Plans to Create Backups

How to back up a Mac computer to iCloud, an external hard drive, or USB flash drives? This article will provide a detailed guide on backing up your Mac with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac, Time Machine, iCloud, and also the manual way.

Table of Contents

Sometimes, losing data on Mac or other storage devices is unavoidable. Most Mac users will store essential worksheets and multimedia works on their iMac or MacBook, and losing these files can be very annoying. That is the most important reason why we need to back up Ma. Before learning how to back up Mac, it is also necessary to know why you need to do that:

🗑️Sudden data loss prevention Many situations will lead to sudden data loss on the Mac, especially accidental deletion and formatting. By the way, your MacBook Air/Pro may be stolen when you carry it out.
🛠️Recovery after troubleshooting When you encounter issues like hard disk failure or Mac startup issues, it is wise to back up data first.
🖥️Mac update When you decide to update macOS, you'll lose data because the upgrade is failed/stuck. It's better to create a backup before the system update.
🖥️Data migration When you need to transfer data from Mac to Mac, you'd better back up data to the external hard drive and then copy them to the other Mac computer.
🗂️Information sync Apple users can back up their Mac to iCloud and then access the data on any Apple device, such as iPhone and iPad.

You'll benefit a lot from creating regular Mac backups. Let us check how to back up your Mac with four different methods.

how to back up Mac

Method 1. How to Back Up Mac with Professional Software

The most important reason to back up Mac is to quickly recover files from a Mac computer. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is an all-in-one data loss prevention software that can help you back up and restore your Mac. The following download button can help you safely download a trial version for macOS.

What makes EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac so unique? It is a backup and restore software that can help you back up your Mac to iCloud, and you can restore lost files to iCloud as well. You can easily recover deleted files from Mac, including photos, documents, videos, and emails. This software is also available for external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, digital cameras, and other storage devices.

Our professional data protection experts suggest Mac users back up files frequently, and you can use EaseUS data recovery software to back up and restore files safely. This software is easy to operate, and you can check the following written tutorial to back up your Mac devices:

Step 1. Click "Disk Backup" > "Create Backup" > "Next" in EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac's main interface. You can create a drive backup image file in case the data is overwritten.

create disk backup with EaseUS

Step 2. Select an internal volume to back up, and click "Create Backup". If you want to create backups and recover data from an external hard drive, USB flash drive, or SD card, remember to connect the storage device to your Mac in advance.

choose a disk to back up

Step 3. Choose a place to save your backup files, and change the name of your backup file, then click "Save". It is not wise to save backups in the same storage device that you want to recover data from.

choose a destination to save disk backup

You can recommend EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac to more Mac users to help them back up their Mac in one click.


Method 2. How to Back Up Mac with Time Machine

Backing up your Mac data to an external hard drive or USB flash drive is safer. Do not save the backup in the same place as the original data. We will give you detailed instructions on setting up Time Machine and creating your first backup.

Step 1. Prepare the external storage device. Prepare an APFS file system backup disk and connect it to your Mac. (You can use other file systems, but APFS is preferred.)

After converting the file system to APFS, you can still recover data from APFS drive with data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.

Step 2. Click the Apple icon and choose "System Settings"> "General"> "Time Machine"> "Add Backup Disk…". Enter the password if asked.

add backup disk

Step 3. Follow the prompts to set up your disk for the first backup. The backup process will be started after clicking "Done". You'll see a notification after the backup process completing.

Step 4. After creating your first Time Machine backup, you can manually back up with Time Machine by clicking the time machine icon and choosing "Back Up Now".

back up your Mac now

Step 5. You can check the backup condition from the menu bar, and it is possible to stop the backup by clicking "Stop This Backup".

you can stop this backup

Don't forget to share this page to help more Mac users learn how to back up their Mac computers with Time Machine.


If the Time Machin failed to complete the first backup, find solutions from the following passage:

Time Machine won't complete first backup

Time Machine Won't Complete First Backup

Is your Time Machine will not complete the first Backup? If yes, then you are not alone. Many Mac users cannot complete backup. Read more >>

Method 3. How to Back Up Your Mac to iCloud

If you think carrying a hard drive or USB flash drive to transfer data from Mac to Mac is inconvenient, iCloud should be your best choice. If you back up data to iCloud, the data will be synced and regularly backed up in your background. This ensures that your files and flooders are always up to date and accessible from any Apple device connected to your iCloud account.

You don't need to clear up space to create backups when you back up your Mac to iCloud. But this service is not totally free, and every Apple ID will only have 5GB of free space. If you think iCloud is worth buying after experiencing it, you can pay for extra space.

Read the following passage to learn the detailed steps of backing up your Mac computer to iCloud:

back up Mac to iCloud

Backup Mac to iCloud: How to Use iCloud to Back Up MacBook Air/Pro

macOS features a unique backup software to ensure you don't lose crucial files. Read to find out how to back up Mac to iCloud. Read more >>

Method 4. Back Up Mac to an External Hard Drive Manually

If you just want to back up a single folder or file, you can manually back it up to an external hard drive. This method is very easy, and you can create a custom backup on your Mac manually.

Step 1. Connect your external hard drive to your iMac or MacBook, and it will show up on the desktop.

Step 2. Use Finder to locate the files/folders you want to back up.

Step 3. Select all the files/folders and copy the items by right-clicking or Command + C.

Step 4. Avoid doing more operations and open the backup disk windows. Press Command + V to paste these files.

If you are not sure how to copy and paste on Mac, you can check more detailed information from the following article:

how to cut and paste files on Mac

How to Cut and Paste Files on Mac/MacBook Air [Shortcut or Mouse]

How to cut and paste files on Mac? This article will introduce 3 common ways: using the shortcut, the Finder menu, and a mouse. Read more >>


If you always forget to update your old backups, it is wise to download third-party backup software like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac. If you forget to back up files before fixing OS or disk issues, you can recover deleted files from your Mac with this software. You can download its trial version by clicking the following button.

Mac Backup FAQs

Check more information about Mac backup with the following Q&As:

1. How do I back up my entire Mac computer?

You can back up the entire Mac computer with multiple methods:

  1. 1. Back up the entire Mac computer with Time Machine
  2. 2. Manually copy all the files and folders on Mac
  3. 3. Use iCloud to back up the entire Mac computer
  4. 4. Back up the entire computer with a third-party backup program

2. How do I back up my MacBook without Time Machine?

If you don't want to back up your MacBook with Time Machine, you have other methods, including using iCloud to upload files and folders on your MacBook. You can also choose to copy selected files to the backup disk manually.

3. Why can't I back up my Mac?

Many reasons can directly cause back up failed on Mac:

  • Insufficient storage space
  • Corrupted hard drive
  • Time Machine bugs
  • Hard drive permission issues

4. How long does the first Mac backup take?

Actually, how long you will take to finish the first backup depends on the file size and the writing speed of your backup disk. If you want to back up your Mac to iCloud, the internet condition also influences the backup speed.

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Updated by Dany

Dany is an editor of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on writing articles about data recovery on Mac devices and PCs. She is devoted to improving her writing skills and enriching her professional knowledge. Dany also enjoys reading detective novels in her spare time.

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