Best answer: Apple's Time Machine helps you create backups of your Mac hard drive using an external device. In doing so, you can recover older files with ease using the same Time Machine tool.

All about Time Machine

Using Time Machine, which is built into macOS, incremental backups of files are created that are restorable at a later date. These backups can include an entire system or specific files. Time Machine captures the most recent state of your data. As these snapshots age, they become prioritized progressively lower automatically compared to newer files.

Time Machine stores hourly backups for 24 hours, daily backups for one month, and weekly backups for as long as your drive has storage space. Once storage space becomes limited, the system deletes the oldest backups. Because of how this is performed, Time Machine is not intended as an archival utility or offline storage solution.

What type of external storage devices can you use with Time Machine?

Time Machine can use the following storage devices as backup disks:

  • An external USB, Thunderbolt, or FireWire drive connected to your Mac
  • An external drive that's connected to an AirPort Extreme Base Station or AirPort Time Capsule
  • AirPort Time Capsule
  • A Mac shared as a Time Machine backup destination
  • Network-attached storage (NAS) device that supports Time Machine over SMB (Server Message Block)

Our pick

G-Technology G-Drive 1TB

Durable, colorful accessory

USB-C ready plus USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3 compatible, this stylish drive from G-Technology is lightweight and Mac-ready.

Also available with 2TB and 4TB, G-Technology's G-Drive is one of the easiest drives to use for backup. Just plug it in, and you're halfway there! It's available in silver, space gray, and rose gold.

Another excellent solution

AirPort Time Capsule (2TB)

Apple's own

Discontinued by Apple, this AirPort Time Capsule is still a great choice and perhaps is the easiest solution to set up.

The AirPort Time Capsule isn't just a backup solution; it's also a full-featured Wi-Fi base station that uses 802.11ac technology and simultaneous dual-band support.

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