macOS 13 Ventura: Time Machine Backup Guide - SweetCare (2023)

macOS 13 Ventura: Time Machine Backup Guide - SweetCare (1)

IMPORTANT: Apple released macOS 13 Ventura on October 24, 2022. This Sweetwater article was written before the release date andis based on the public beta of macOS 13 Ventura. We will revise and update this article based on our experience with the release version of macOS 13 Ventura.

In this guide, we will show you how to create a Time Machine backup on macOS 13 Ventura.

Time Machine with an external hard drive is like an insurance policy for all your work on your Mac. With a Time Machine backup, you can restore your system quickly if your Mac fails. You can use a Time Machine backup to downgrade your Mac to an earlier version of macOS while keeping your apps and data intact. Time Machine is also valuable for everyday incremental file backup. You can recover individual files you have deleted or revert a file to an earlier saved state.

TIP: Turn off Time Machine while recording and editing audio and music. Time Machine’s background file copying processes can cause glitches in recordings and will slow down your Mac. Turn Time Machine back on after your session so it can continue backing up your files. For more information, see Sweetwater’s macOS 13 Ventura: Audio Optimization Guide.

  • How to back up your Mac
    • Cloud-based backup
      • Apple iCloud Drive
      • Third-party cloud-based backup and file sharing
    • Local backup with Time Machine
  • What kind of hard drive do I need?
  • Create a Time Machine Backup
    • Automatically configure a Time Machine backup disk
    • Manually configure a Time Machine backup disk
    • Working with Time Machine
    • Disk Utility

How to back up your Mac

Cloud-based backup

TIP: As with Time Machine, regardless of the backup method, you should turn off all cloud-based backup services while working with your DAW.

Apple provides two services for backing up data, iCloud Drive and Time Machine. They have different purposes. In addition, there are many third-party solutions.

Apple iCloud Drive

Apple’s iCloud and iCloud Drive are not for backing up your entire Mac. iCloud lets you back up photos, documents, messages, and certain kinds of data to Apple’s servers on the internet. You can access these files on multiple Macs, iPhones, iPads, and even Windows PCs and share files among family members. iCloud has many valuable features, but it’s no substitute for Time Machine, which is why Apple offers both. Learn more about Apple iCloud.

This Apple Support article explains how to disable iCloud Drive and get your Desktop and Documents folder back to your startup disk.

Third-party cloud-based backup and file sharing

There are third-party commercial products designed to run in the background and continuously back up your data to the cloud.

Commercial products such as Backblaze, iDrive, and Carbonite will back up all your documents and data on your startup disk, but generally won’t back up your apps or system files. They are useful for “disaster recovery,” enabling you to retrieve all your data if your Mac gets stolen or your home suffers a disaster.

Products such as DropBox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive are geared toward sharing a folder full of files with different users.

Again, these products provide useful services, but they are no substitute for a local Time Machine backup on an external hard drive.

Local backup with Time Machine

Whereas iCloud only backs up certain documents and data, Time Machine backs up all the files on your Mac, including system files, apps, support files, plug-ins, and sound libraries. Because it backs up the files to a local hard drive, you can use that drive to restore your system rapidly.

If your Time Machine external backup disk is large enough, you can use it to back up your startup disk and other disks attached to your Mac.

(Video) What does macOS 13 Ventura Mean for Musicians?

Apple Support: Back up your Mac with Time Machine

A Time Machine disk can also be used with Apple Migration Assistant to migrate all your data and apps from an old Mac to a new Mac.

Apple Support: Restore your Mac from a backup

Sometimes musicians find themselves in a bind: they upgrade to a new version of macOS but then discover that they are using audio software that isn’t compatible with the latest macOS. In that case, they will want to downgrade back to the earlier macOS. That’s yet another reason to have a Time Machine backup.

Check out Sweetwater’s macOS 13 Ventura: Operating System Downgrade Guide

MacOS 13 Ventura: Operating System Downgrade GuideLearn how to downgrade your Mac from macOS 13 Ventura to a prior version for compatibility with your music and audio software and hardware.

What kind of hard drive do I need?

You need an external hard drive that connects to your Mac via USB or Thunderbolt, and you will want to dedicate the entire drive to Time Machine. Ideally, the drive should be double the capacity of your Mac’s startup disk. To back up multiple disks attached to your Mac, you will need even more capacity. The drive you use for Time Machine doesn’t need to be fast, so a large-capacity traditional spinning hard disk might provide a better value than a solid-state drive (SSD).

For example, if your Mac’s startup disk is 512GB in size, you will want an external hard drive of at least 1TB capacity. External drives with a large-format spinning hard disks are inexpensive, so consider buying a drive with 2TB or 4TB or even larger capacity.

You can connect the drive directly to your Mac or a powered USB hub or dock.

Create a Time Machine Backup

If you have a MacBook, make sure the power adapter is connected.

Connect your new external hard drive to your Mac directly or through a powered USB hub.

Automatically configure a Time Machine backup disk

macOS 13 Ventura will prompt you for permission the first time you attach any USB or Thunderbolt drive. Click on Allow.

If you have not set up Time Machine before, simply plugging in a new external hard disk will open a Finder prompt asking if you want to use the disk as a Time Machine backup.

If you click Yes then Time Machine will reformat your external drive.

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Your disk’s icon will change from orange to green, with the Time Machine icon on it.

A Time Machine-formatted disk can be recognized in the Finder by its green color with the Time Machine icon

If you get an error message saying that the disk cannot be formatted, go to the Disk Utility section below.

Your first backup will begin.

Once Time Machine begins, a new Time Machine icon will appear in the right corner of your Menu Bar.

Clicking on the Time Machine icon will cause a menu to drop down. The options in the menu will change depending on the context. In this example, we see that the backup has just started. It’s only 0.2% done, and 57.0 MB have been copied.

IMPORTANT: Depending on the size of the files on your startup disk, the first backup could take a long time, even several hours. Be sure to leave your Mac running until the backup is complete.

Manually configure a Time Machine backup disk

If the automatic configuration doesn’t work, or you need to set up a new drive for Time Machine, you can configure it in System Settings.

Go to System Settings > General > Time Machine. Click on Add Backup Disk…

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Select the disk you want to convert to a Time Machine backup disk. Click Set up Disk…

You have the option of encrypting the Time Machine disk. If you choose this, only you or someone who knows your password will be able to restore your data. Click the button to turn off Encrypt Backup if you don’t want it.

For Disk Usage Limit, select None.

Click Done.

Time Machine will format your disk. It will then appear in the Time Machine pane in System Settings

Leave your Mac running until the backup is complete.

Working with Time Machine

Now that you’ve got your backup, go to Apple Support and learn how Time Machine performs incremental backups and how to restore individual files.

If you want to know how to use your Time Machine backup to downgrade your Mac to an earlier version of macOS, here’s our Sweetcare article

MacOS 13 Ventura: Operating System Downgrade GuideLearn how to downgrade your Mac from macOS 13 Ventura to a prior version for compatibility with your music and audio software and hardware.

C2A: macOS 13 Ventura: Downgrade Guide

Disk Utility

If Time Machine gave you an error message that it could not format your external hard drive, try reformatting it in Disk Utility.

Go to /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility

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  1. Choose View > Show All Devices.
  2. In the pane on the left, select your external hard drive. You want to select the entire drive, not a volume lower down in its hierarchy.
  3. Click the Erase button.
  4. Click the Scheme pop-up menu, then choose GUID Partition Map.
  5. Click the Format pop-up menu, and choose APFS.
  6. Enter a name.
  7. Click Erase, then click Done.
  8. Go back to the Manually configure a Time Machine backup disk section above.

Time Machine should now be able to convert your external drive to a Time Machine backup.

For more information on working with Disk Utility, check out Apple Support: Disk Utility User Guide

macOS 13 Ventura Support Resources

Apple has announced macOS 13 Ventura will launch today, October 24th. Sweetwater has created a comprehensive series of support pages about macOS 13 Ventura to make sure our customers and the community have access to all the information required before upgrading. While many recording and live sound systems will be eligible to upgrade at some point, not all software or hardware manufacturers are compatible right away, and many older Apple computers will not support macOS 13 Ventura. Bookmark this page and check back for the latest updates!

What does macOS 13 Ventura Mean for Musicians?Another year has passed, and you know what that means: Apple is releasing a newversionof macOS. Join Sweetwater’s Mitch Gallagher as he gives you helpful tips and advice about upgrading yourMacto macOS 13 Ventura.
macOS 13 Ventura: Compatibility GuideSweetwater is your one-stop resource for macOS 13 Ventura compatibility information for music and audio hardware and software.
macOS 13 Ventura: Download and Install GuideLearn how to install macOS 13 Ventura on your Mac or MacBook. Sweetwater explains issues regarding recording, audio and music production.
macOS 13 Ventura: Audio Optimization GuideLearn how to optimize macOS 13 Ventura to maximize performance for recording, audio and music production on your Mac.
macOS 13 Ventura: Time Machine Backup GuideLearn how to create a Time Machine backup of your Mac or MacBook using an external hard drive on macOS 13 Ventura.
macOS 13 Ventura: Operating System Downgrade GuideLearn how to downgrade your Mac from macOS 13 Ventura to a prior version for compatibility with your music and audio software and hardware.

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Knowledge Base


Why is my Mac Time Machine not backing up? ›

General troubleshooting

Make sure your backup disk is plugged in, turned on, and securely connected to your Mac. If your backup disk is on a network, make sure both the disk and your Mac are connected to the network. If the network is experiencing problems, your backup disk may not be available.

How do I completely backup my Mac with Time Machine? ›

Make a backup

After you select your storage device in Time Machine settings, Time Machine automatically begins making periodic backups. Back up manually. To start a backup manually, without waiting for the next automatic backup, choose Back Up Now from the Time Machine menu in the menu bar. Check backup status.

Why is preparing backup taking so long on Mac? ›

The length of preparation time that Time Machine requires depends on the amount of information on your Mac, the size of the backup, and the speed of the connection between your Mac and the backup disk. The preparation stage can also take longer if: The previous Time Machine backup was interrupted.

Is Time Machine the best way to backup a Mac? ›

A Time Machine backup makes it especially easy to transfer all your data, settings, and apps from one Mac to another. It's also really intuitive to use.

How do I manually backup my Mac without Time Machine? ›

Locate your Mac startup disk in Finder or on your desktop and open it. Press Users, then select all the folders and data you want to back up, drag this into your newly created file on your external drive and wait for the copy to finish.

How do you backup everything on a Mac to an external hard drive? ›

Step by Step: Backing up Your Mac to an External Hard Drive With Time Machine
  1. Locate System Preferences in the Apple Menu. ...
  2. Select Time Machine. ...
  3. Select Backup Disk. ...
  4. Select Your Hard Drive and Encrypt Backup. ...
  5. Create a Password for Your Backup. ...
  6. Wait for Backup to Begin.

Does Time Machine backup all profiles on a Mac? ›

Time Machine runs at the system level and backs up all users, as dialabrain indicated.

How do I repair my Mac backup disk? ›

Repair a storage device in Disk Utility on Mac
  1. In the Disk Utility app on your Mac, choose View > Show All Devices. ...
  2. In the sidebar, select a volume, then click the First Aid button .
  3. In the First Aid dialog, click Run, then follow the onscreen instructions.
  4. When the First Aid process is complete, click Done.

Why is Time Machine not overwriting old backups? ›

By default, the Time Machine function is set to unlimited capacity so it won't overwrite any old backups you had before.

How do I get Time Machine to recognize old backups? ›

Open Time Machine settings and reselect your backup disk. If you erased your backup disk and began having trouble, reselecting it may fix the problem. If you're using a Time Capsule as your backup disk, use AirPort Utility to make sure it's set up properly and connected to your network.

How do I know when Time Machine is backing up? ›

If you'd like to see what Time Machine is working on, the only GUI solution is to open up the Time Machine System Preferences panel, where you'll see either the time of the last and next backups, or if a backup is currently in progress, a progress bar showing how much backup work is left to be done.

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