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How to back up MacBook (Pro, Air): Top 4 Ways

Backing up your MacBook can prevent you from data loss. You can get top 4 ways to back up your MacBook easily after reading this article.

William Davis Updated on Oct 16, 2023 2:08 PM

With many important data stored on your MacBook, you may be concerned with losing the data one day, or you cannot access it when something wrong with your MacBook. But if you have backed up your MacBook, then you can protect yourself against being in trouble. Therefore, it's really necessary and useful to get your MacBook backed up.

In fact, there are many ways for you to back up MacBook. In this post, we will share, the top 4 options that most users use to make a backup of MacBook, one by one, with you.

Table of Contents

Back Up a MacBook with Time Machine

Time Machine is a built-in feature of your MacBook, which can automatically back up your data on MacBook. If you have backed up your MacBook with Time Machine, you can get the data back when you deleted it accidentally. Now, let's explore how to use Time Machine to back up a MacBook together.

To begin with, you have to prepare a storage device to save the backup data of your MacBook. Backing up files on MacBook with Time Machine needs an external hard drive. You ought to get the storage device connected to your MacBook. Then you can follow these steps.

  • Open Time Machine settings.
  • On a MacBook with macOS Ventura or later, you can find Time Machine settings by clicking Apple menu > System Settings, click General in the sidebar, and Time Machine will be shown on the right, just click it.

    On a MacBook with earlier versions of macOS, you can find Time Machine settings by going to Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Time Machine.

  • Set the external storage device as a backup disk.
  • On a MacBook with macOS Ventura or later, you can set it by clicking the add button and doing as the onscreen instructions show.

    On a MacBook with earlier versions of macOS, you can click Select Backup Disk and follow the onscreen instructions to set it.

  • Once you have finished above steps, Time Machine begins to back up automatically. Or you can click Back Up Now to back up manually from the Time Machine menu in the menu bar.


  • The external storage device that you use as a backup disk can only be used for storing backup data, rather than other files.
  • You can check the backup status by clicking the Time Machine menu in the menu bar. And you can keep using your MacBook even though the backup progress hasn't finished.
  • Time Machine can make a frequently backup by making hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups for all previous months. You can change the backup frequency on a MacBook with macOS Ventura or later.

Back Up MacBook Files with iCloud

If you want to back up your MacBook with iCloud, we are sorry to tell you that iCloud cannot back up the entire MacBook. The truth is that using iCloud or iCloud Drive, you can sync some of the data from your MacBook to iCloud or iCloud Drive. In some ways it can be called "back up" as you can access or restore it on all of your other devices if your MacBook doesn't work. Steps for you to turn on iCloud or iCloud Drive are shown below.

Step 1: Open your Mac.

Step 2: Click Apple Menu.

Step 3: Click System Settings on Mac with macOS Ventura or later version system; or click System Preferences on Mac with macOS Monterey or earlier version system.

Step 4: Click your Apple ID > iCloud, turn on iCloud, and click checkboxes or turn on toggle button to decide what data needs to be "backed up".

Step 5: you are expected to find iCloud Drive on the right, then turn on iCloud Drive.

Step 6: Click Options on the window of iCloud Drive. You can select what to "back up" and then click Done.

Tip: Pay attention to the fact that backing up MacBook data with iCloud is just syncing the data in essential. If you delete a file on your Mac, it will also be removed on iCloud.

Using Other Backup Apps to Back Up MacBook

Apart from backing up a MacBook with official tools that Apple came out, users can also make it with many different backup apps, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and so on. Let's take Dropbox as an example to learn how to back up files on MacBook with a third backup app.

1. After you have downloaded and installed Dropbox on MacBook, you should run it, and then sign up or log in your account.

2. Then on the window of Dropbox, you can click Upload Files or Upload Folder on the right, select the data you want to back up, then click Choose, and wait for what you have chosen being uploaded successfully.

Tip: Or you can directly drag files that you want to back up into Dropbox via Finder, which means you need to open Finder and click Dropbox on the left side bar, and then drag target data to it.

The process of backing up your MacBook with other backup apps is similar to each other. And you can straightforwardly make it as long as you follow operational instructions.

Back Up your MacBook by Cloning it

If you don't want to have MacBook backed up by using an app but just want the data to be transferred and backed up directly, then you can try this method that clones your MacBook to a external storage device.

Step 1: You need to prepare an external storage device and make sure it connected to MacBook.

Step 2: Then you just need to drag or copy and paste files to the external storage device.

Step 3: Once it's done, data on your MacBook will be successfully backed up.

Tip: Every time you want to back up your MacBook directly to an external storage device without Time Machine, you ought to repeat above steps to make backups manually.

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