Backing Up MacBook Air to external hard drive... How?
November 5, 2019 7:28 AM   Subscribe

I would like to back up my new MacBook Air to an external hard drive, but have no idea how to configure this...

I have a new MacBook Air. I have an external 8TB hard drive that has a USB connection. How do I do this without a USB?

Is there some other adapter that I use through the power plug? Do I need to interface it with one of the other computers (see below) over WIFI and do it that way? Is there some secret external hard drive WIFI connection that I don't know about?

Please explain how I can make this happen like I am an idiot - which I may very well be - because I can't seem to find anything online except generic backup advice.

I have a 2015 MacBook Pro and a 2010 iMac as well as a couple of iPhones if any of that is useful at all.
posted by Tchad to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, you can buy an adapter that has a usb port on it. Amazon has several types, most of them have a variety of ports.
posted by ananci at 7:33 AM on November 5, 2019

The "power plug" you refer to is a USB-C connector. You can buy (from Apple or elsewhere) a USB-C to USB-A adapter, which will allow you to plug your hard disc in and back up using Time Machine as normal.
posted by parm at 7:34 AM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Specifically, one of these will do the job:

You can probably find cheaper ones on Amazon or similar.
posted by parm at 7:35 AM on November 5, 2019

Thanks, everybody! I thought there had to be something I was missing and that the power plug is a USB-C is exactly it. Perfect. Done and dusted.
posted by Tchad at 7:56 AM on November 5, 2019

Another thing you'll want is software to do the backup. Apple's TIme Machine is great for backing up your documents and things, but an application like SuperDuper lets you do a complete clone of your entire MacBook Air hard drive that you can boot from if you need to. Every week, I do a SuperDuper clone of my MacBook Pro's hard drive, just in case, and do incremental backups of my files with Time Machine onto a different drive.

(Also, look into a cloud backup solution as well. If you don't have at least one off-site backup of your stuff, you don't really have a backup. I like Backblaze.)
posted by SansPoint at 8:00 AM on November 5, 2019

Carbon Copy Cloner is similar to SuperDuper!, costs a bit more, and generally releases updates anticipating the current Mac OS release cycle before Apple releases the new OS. Either program is awesome, though.
posted by mwhybark at 11:57 AM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've been a longtime user of both TimeMachine and SuperDuper, and heartily endorse both.

But use them on different drives.

Also & anecdotally, while there almost certainly do exist USB-C adapters from other parties, my sense is that people are far less likely to have trouble if they just buy the one at Apple.
posted by uberchet at 12:08 PM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

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