You need to access important files on your Mac but there's a problem — you just dumped coffee all over the keyboard or you dropped it and broke the screen or it simply won't boot up, no lights, no beeps, no nothing. And. You. Need. Those. Files.
Sure, storage failure is frustrating, but when you know the storage is fine and you just can't get at it, that can be a whole new level of hell.
If all your stuff syncs online over iCloud or Dropbox, or if you have a fresh backup from BackBlaze of CrashPlan, you may not have a problem. Simply check on your iPhone, iPad, other Mac, or other device and see if what you need is there. Then, get your Mac problems looked at at your leisure.
If you don't sync and you don't backup online, and you really need those photos, or that old tax return, or that previous version of your presentation, or that account info you hastily saved as a text file, then you'll need to take care of you Mac now.
How to access your online backups remotely
Most major online backup services have web sites you can use to access your files from another Mac or Windows PC, and apps you can use to access them from iPhone, Mac, and other mobile devices.
Here are the some of the most popular:
- iCloud.com or the built-in iCloud Drive app for iOS.
- Dropbox.com or the Dropbox app for iOS.
- Backblaze.com or the BackBlaze app for iOS.
- CrashPlan.com or the CrashPlan app for iOS.
What to do if you don't have an online backup
If the only copies of the files you need are on a Mac that's no longer working you'll need to take that Mac in to Apple to get it fixed. Once the keyboard, screen, motherboard, or whatever it is that's causing the problem is fixed, you'll be able to get at your files again.
For that, you need to make an appointment with the Genius Bar at your local Apple Store, or call Apple Support on the phone at 1-800-275-2273 and arrange the repair. Apple now offers a wider range of ways to contact them and get support as well:
Note: If for any reason Apple or an authorized service center says they're replacing the hard drive as part of the repairs, insist they give you the original hard drive back. That way you can mount it and still get access to all your old files. If they toss it, they toss your data along with it.
Any questions on rescuing your trapped Mac files?
If you have any other questions about backup or getting your Mac fixed, drop them in the comments below!
- Backing up: The ultimate guide
- Best backup services and programs for your Mac
- Best cloud service apps for your iPhone and iPad
- How to back up your Mac
- How to back up your iPhone and iPad
- How to back up your Apple TV
- How to back up your Apple Watch
- How to restore your Mac from a backup
- How to restore your iPhone or iPad from a backup
- How to restore your Apple Watch from a backup
- How to recover your files when you don't have a backup
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