You need to access essential 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 won't boot up, no lights, no beeps, no nothing. And. You. Need. Those. Files.
Sure, storage failure is frustrating. However, there's a whole new level of hell when you know your files are secure, but you can't get to them.
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. Just check on your iPhone, iPad, other Mac, or another supported device and see if what you need is there. Then, resolve your Mac issues at a later time.
If you don't sync or backup your files online, and you 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.
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 to Apple to get it fixed. Once the keyboard, screen, motherboard, or whatever it is that's causing the problem is resolved, you'll be able to reaccess your files.
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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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.