The Apple Time Capsule seemed like a great idea when it was unveiled about a decade ago. It was a Time Machine network backup target that also embedded a Wi-Fi gateway and ethernet sharing. Perfection, even if it was a little too expensive: It came with Apple technical support and warranty.
And if the Time Capsule hardware or the drive died, you could not swap that drive out without a lot of fuss. Then Apple stopped making new ones years ago and finally admitted it canceled the line earlier this year. This column was prompted by Macworld reader Neil, who relies on a Time Capsule at his small business, and has an expanding workforce. My transition advice would be to move away from Time Capsule and switch to Time Machine volumes attached to Mac desktops already on the network.
First, you can add as many volumes as you need, distributing backups among multiple desktop machines. Second, you can rotate backup sets, so you can take drives offsite and swap in an alternate set, which improves your odds of recovery in catastrophe. Also consider strongly using a security-minded Internet-hosted backup for user-created files and media, such as Backblaze. Time Machine requires a separate hard drive on which to store your data.
Get one with at least twice the capacity of your startup drive larger is better. You can also use a Time Capsule and some network drives more on this below. The default way to setup a Time Machine backup is dead simple.
Connect the backup drive to your Mac. Click Use as Backup Disk and things will start automatically.
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Backing up to shared drives is convenient, though slower, and can be less reliable than a directly attached drive. If your networked drive is Time Machine-compatible, it will show as an available choice in the Select Disk… window.
External drives connected to your Mac are not included in backups by default, you can change this behavior here. Use the Time Machine menu in the Mac toolbar to verify the status of your backups.
The menu is a small clock in a circle near at the top right corner of your screen. When Time Machine is backing up your data, the circle and the clock hands spin counter-clockwise.
How to backup a Mac to Time Machine with any hard drive - 9to5Mac
Click on this menu to see the time of the Latest Backup. You can run an immediate backup by choosing Back Up Now. If you see an exclamation point inside the circle, it means there is a problem with your backups. Time Machine is known to stall out from time to time no pun intended. Many times you can simply choose Back Up Now to get things running again. More on this below. You use the Time Machine application to browse your archives and restore files. This is located in your Applications folder, and is placed in the Dock by default on new Mac user accounts.
The overlapping windows indicate files on your computer now frontmost window , and at progressive snapshots in the past.
It’s time to switch your Mac backups from Time Capsule to Time Machine volumes
The right side of your screen has bars listing the dates and times of saved backups. The arrows pointing back and forward near the bottom right of the screen step things through one snapshot at a time.
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Browse through your hard drive on any date to find the file, folder or applications you wish to restore. You can use the Spotlight search field to help find items. Once you find what you need, select the file or folder, then click on the Restore button at the lower right of your screen. Presto, your data is restored.
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