How to Backup Mac Without Time Machine

Backups are essential for disaster recovery. The hard drive of your Mac can accidentally crash, which is something that does happen to laptops. Hard drives have a life cycle after which they get bad sectors and can become unusable.

In such a scenario, you risk losing all your essential data. With backups at bay, you will have peace of mind because all it would take to recover is simple copy-pasting or downloading from the web.

Let’s see how to backup Mac without Time Machine and prepare for moments.

Why Look for Time Machine Alternatives?

It is not that Time Machine is useless, and you should not use it. There are various backup methods, and each one has its own attractions. Some methods will suit someone, but some do not.

The backup process on Time Machine could prove difficult for some users. Plus, the data is stored locally, and you cannot access it remotely. Lastly, restoring data on a Time Machine might be cumbersome for some individuals.

Methods to Back Up Mac Data Without Time Machine

1] Manual Backup

You can take manual backups by simply attaching the external storage device to your Mac. First, you should format your storage device. If you have never formatted it, click Launchpad and go to Other → Disk Utility.

Select your external storage device in the Dist Utility and click the Erase option. Choose the format you want your storage device to have.

Before starting the backup, clear all junk files to allow only essential data to be backed up. Choose your files and folders and drag them to your external storage device.

Bonus Tip: If you are using a Network-Attached Storage (NAS), ensure to minimize the number of routers between your Mac and the NAS to avoid delays.

Additionally, check the USB versions of your peripherals to see what speeds you can achieve for data transfer.

2] iCloud

iCloud backups have a unique appeal because you can restore them on any device without even having the original Mac.

With iCloud, you can store your data on cloud servers. However, you will need to have an Apple ID. Otherwise, you can create an account at

  • Launch System Settings and click your Apple ID.
  • You will see iCloud there. Click on it.
  • Click on the ‘iCloud Drive’ and turn on this option.
  • Now click Options and select which apps you need to create a backup.

It is important to note that Apple offers only 5 GB of free storage. To backup more data, you need to subscribe to their storage plans.

3] Google Drive

Another appealing method to create backups that you can restore on any device is Google Drive. What attracts people to Google Drive is that it offers a flat 15GB storage capacity with a free Google account.

  • Launch any web browser of your choice.
  • Login to your Google account.
  • Sign in to Google Drive.
  • Click on the ‘New’ option at the top left and select the upload option either by file or folder.
  • Browse to the data that you need to upload.

You can also restore the data by logging into Google Drive on the target device. Then select the files, and click the download options.


Time Machine is a built-in feature that Apple offers to back up data on Mac. However, you cannot access your data remotely with it. Also, it heavily relies on an external storage device.

Time Machine will not suit every Mac user, which is why there are other options to explore. If you seek to back up your data without Time Machine, you can follow the abovementioned methods.