How to Restore from Time Machine on Mac

Rosa Reyes
time April 10, 2020 Preview 5.1K
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It’s a good habit to set up Time Machine and backup your Mac to it. Time Machine allows you to restore files if you enable it and do have backups. But sometimes you can’t backup Mac to it successfully, how to perform data recovery on Mac when you find data lost? This guide will show you how to restore from Time Machine and recover lost data on Mac after Time Machine backup failure.


What is Time Machine and How It Works?

Time Machine is a Mac built-in backup utility developed by Apple. It creates incremental backups of files that can be restored at a later date. It allows users to restore the whole Mac system, multiple files, or a single file and works with any external or internal volume that connected to your Mac via USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt.

When Time Machine is enabled, it takes periodic snapshots of all your files and catalogs them on the hard drive you choose as backup disk. It backs up the entire contents of your Mac files hourly, daily and weekly, as the drive gets full, Time Machine will delete the oldest backups and replace them with newer versions.

How to Set Up Time Machine on Mac

  1. Select System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Click the Time Machine icon and click “Select Backup Disk” to choose which disk you'd like to use as a Time Machine backup and click “Use Disk”.
  3. Check the “Back Up Automatically” box in order to automatically back up your Mac to your chosen disk. Check the “Show Time Machine in menu bar” box as you wish.

And you can also backup your Mac files by choosing “Back Up Now” after clicking the Time Machine icon in the Menu bar. But sometimes due to the Mac performance, wrong operation, or the space of hard drive you choose, there is not always successful backup from the Time Machine. And you may get a pop-up message displaying for you: Time Machine Error.

At this time, you need to check whether the space of the hard drive used for backup is enough, whether it is read only or corrupted, whether your system preference is compatible with the Time Machine, and check AirPort base station and network connection, etc.

How to Restore from Time Machine on Mac?

If you do backup Mac to Time Machine successfully, then you can restore from Time Machine when you find data missing. Here is the guide on how to restore files from a Time Machine backup:

  1. Select System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Choose the Time Machine icon.
  3. Check the box next to Show Time Machine in menu bar if you haven’t.
  4. Click Enter Time Machine after clicking the Time Machine icon in the Menu bar.
  5. And you'll see a list of backups arranged by date, and then select one backup to find the files you want to restore. Find the file or folder in question and click Restore. Time Machine will then copy that file back to its original location on your hard drive.

But when you get Time Machine backup error or forget to backup Mac to Time Machine, how to recover lost data on your Mac? Please read on.

How to Perform Data Recovery after Time Machine Backup Failure?

If the Time Machine backup's failure caused you data loss or you can’t restore from Time Machine, a data recovery software is urgently needed to recover your lost files. Here take Cisdem Data Recovery for Mac as an example to retrieve lost files on Mac after Time Machine backup failure.

With advanced recovery technology and optimal computer algorithm, Cisdem Data Recovery offers both quick scanning and deep scanning to detect your storage device. It can help you recover photos, documents, videos, music, archive, etc., from Mac hard drive & external drive, memory card, MP3 player, etc.

Free Download

Perform data recovery on Mac if you don’t have Time Machine backup

  1. Launch Cisdem Data Recovery and go to Disk Data Recovery.
  2. Scan the partition that your files were lost from.
    The program will show all Mac partitions or volumes that connected to your Mac. Select the one that your data was lost from and click "Scan" to search it.cisdem data recovery homepage
  3. Recover lost data after Time Machine Failure.
    When the scanning finishes, all found files would be shown in the window. You can preview files to check how many of your lost files can be recovered. Then select them and click "Recover" to save them on your Mac.scan and recover lost data

To avoid data overwritten, please select a new partition/volume to save the recovered data.

In conclusion

If you set up Time Machine, you can restore from Time Machine backup. But if you do not have Time Machine to restore, don’t worry, Cisdem Data Recovery can help you get all deleted and lost files back.

Rosa Reyes
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Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.

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