When you decide to back up your Mac, it is important to choose the right way to do it. While using Time Machine is a great option, it sometimes helps to consider all of your options.
For example, if you are looking to replace your MacBook hard drive, consider creating a disk image of your hard drive and storing it on an external drive. You can do this using Disk Utility.
Creating a backup of your Mac will allow you to make an exact copy of your current hard drive and restore all information when you install a new drive. Having a backup copy of your startup disk also eliminates the risk of losing data while performing system updates.
Get ready to back up your Mac
Before you start backing up your Mac, you need to keep a few things in mind.
- Disk Utility is free and included with macOS. You can find it inside Applications > Utility.
- Before starting your Mac backup, make sure you have an internal or external hard drive ready. It must be large enough to store the data you have on your current startup disk and have nothing you want to keep on it. The backup process will erase the receiving unit.
- The destination drive must also be formatted correctly. Especially if you’re using an external hard drive or external SSD to back up your data, as most of them aren’t preformatted for Macs.
- Check the target drive for errors before starting the process.
- Finally, the whole process will take anywhere from half an hour to several hours, depending on what data you are backing up. So make sure your computer is plugged in and you won’t have to use it for the next two hours.
Check the target drive using the disk utility
If the destination drive has errors, it may cause problems with the backup and you will not have a reliable copy of the boot drive.
We recommend that you use Disk Utility to check the destination drive before starting the backup process. To do this, follow these steps:
- To open Disk utility.
- From the list of devices, select the target drive.
- Click First aid at the top of the app. So choose Run.
This will start the verification process which shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
If Disk Utility shows verification errors, you will need to repair the disk before proceeding. To do this, click First aid back into Disk Utility to repair the disk. If you finally get a confirmation message, you’re good to go.
Conversely, if there are still errors listed after repairing the disk, you will have to repeat the whole process until the disk is completely repaired and you will see the Disk Utility confirmation message.
Start the Mac backup process
Now that the destination drive is ready, you can begin the cloning process and create a copy of your startup disk. To do this, follow these steps:
- In Disk Utility, select your startup disk.