6 Ways You Can Backup a MacBook’s Photos and Files


Backing up your photos and files is a must. While your MacBook likely comes equipped with some backup features, the burden really falls on you to make sure you’re using them to their full advantage. 

Jump ahead to these sections: 

Not only does backing up your MacBook give you a way to organize your computer files, but it’s also an important way to protect your digital assets. We’ve all experienced the horror of losing an important file, document, or image. Maybe you misplaced it, or maybe your computer shut down unexpectedly and it was gone to the cyber graveyard forever. 

No matter your reasoning, it’s always good to be prepared. In this guide, we share the best ways you can backup a MacBook’s photos and files. You don’t need any complicated experience or tools to get started. As long as you’re proactive, you can make sure you’re always protected no matter what technology throws at you. 

Why Backup Your MacBook’s Photos and Files?

Before we begin, why is it important to backup your MacBooks photos and files in the first place? There are a few reasons why this is a good practice to get into:

  • Security: Unfortunately, cyber thieves are out there, and they look for easy targets when searching for sensitive information. Protecting your photos and files with a backup system keeps you safe. 
  • Broken devices: Your device isn’t always 100% invincible. It could be damaged somehow, making it impossible to restore your files and photos. 
  • Digital afterlife: Your digital afterlife is what happens to your digital information after you die. You want to make sure your loved ones can access your key documents, photos, and files. 
  • Organization: Creating a backup also gives you an opportunity to organize your files, photos, and so on. You might realize there are things that need to be deleted securely. 
  • Hacking and corruption: Last but not least, your MacBook could be hacked or corrupted with some form of malware or software. If this happens, you want a backup of your files safely stored elsewhere. 

Whether you’re trying to protect your digital assets after death or make sure you never lose a family photo, it’s important to find the best strategy to backup your MacBook’s photos and files. 

How often should you backup your MacBook?

It’s a good idea to backup your MacBook regularly. While it’s easy to do it once and forget about it, this is likely to leave a lot of files and photos unsecure. 

Backing up your MacBook once a month is the most common length of time, but you might need to do this more frequently depending on how often you use your device. If you use your computer daily, for example, you might want to backup your MacBook once or even twice a week. 

How many backup methods should you use?

The general rule of thumb is to use 3 backup methods. The problem with using just one method is that it could easily fail. For example, if you use an external hard drive, this could easily break or be misplaced, leaving you without your files and photos. 

Using three different types of backup storage means you’re never caught off guard. It’s all about reducing the risk of loss. While you might not back up every type of storage every time you do a backup, it’s a good habit to use two or three instead of relying on one alone. 

Who needs to back up their data?

No matter what type of computer user you are, you need to backup your photos and files. Even if you just use your computer casually, it’s important to make sure your information is safe and secure no matter what. 

Hackers target everyone, and even the most up-to-date devices can fail. Whether you use your MacBook for work, school, or just to browse the web, you need to backup your data with one of the strategies below. Luckily, this is not a complicated or expensive process. 

» MORE: Need help paying for a funeral? Let Cake help with a free consultation.

1. Save to an External Drive

An external drive is essentially a large USB device. It connects to your MacBook via the USB port, and it’s easy to copy and backup your files as needed. With the Mac operating system, you can set up your external drive to copy an entire version of your computer, files, settings, and all. You can also just use it as a storage device to save the things you want. 

An external drive is a great way to learn how to organize your digital photos. Because you can organize documents and photos into files, this is a chance to make sure everything is organized by event, date, or topic. 

2. Store to iCloud

Apple cloud (iCloud) is a type of cloud storage available on all Apple devices. Your MacBook already comes with iCloud syncing capabilities, so you don’t need to add anything extra to get started with this backup method. 

With iCloud, it’s easy to “set it and forget it.” You can customize your iCloud to backup your computer and documents regularly, and you can also pay for extra storage as needed. If you use other Apple products like an iPhone or iPad, this is easy to use across devices. 

3. Use Another Cloud Service

While iCloud is optimized to work with your MacBook, you might wish to use another third-party service. There are a lot of cloud storage providers other than Apple. Some of the most common and affordable ones are:

Like iDrive, these can be added to your mobile devices and tablets as well to sync documents and files across your tools. While you get a certain amount of free storage (usually between 10-15GB), you might need to upgrade to a paid account to backup larger photos or files.

How does cloud storage work? Instead of saving your files to a single computer, cloud storage shares this file across multiple servers connected together. This means if one fails, your files are still safe and sound. 

» MORE: Save thousands on funeral costs by knowing your options – schedule a free consultation today.

4. Save to a USB Stick

A USB stick is a small and portable option, but it’s also very affordable. These are small, cheap, and easy to find. USB sticks generally have more limitations about what they can read/write, and they also have a limited amount of storage available compared to larger hard drives. 

That being said, a USB stick is a great way to backup smaller files, documents, and photos. If you want to organize your photos into different USB sticks, for example, this is an effective option when paired with other backup methods. 

5. Invest in a Time Machine

While the name implies this would be some kind of futuristic device, the Time Machine is a type of external hard drive that’s designed for Mac devices. These capsules automatically keep backups every 24 hours, and you can configure them to suit your needs. 

Most everyday MacBook users won’t need something like the Time Machine, and they can be very pricey. That being said, if you’re a professional or you have a lot of data, this is a great tool. 

6. Print Your Files and Photos

Last but not least, this option might just be the most secure. While it sounds a bit ridiculous to print your files and photos, a physical storage system is impossible for hackers to access. 

You likely won’t want to print everything, but having a copy of family photos, key documents, and so on means that you can keep them close without worrying about computers failing. However, if you do choose to print your important files and documents, make sure you have a system for organizing your paperwork and photos. 

A simple file system, emergency organizer, binders, and photo albums all work great. This shouldn’t be your only backup solution, but it is a very good idea to have printing be one of them. It’s also much easier to grab printed documents in an emergency compared to a hard drive or something that might not be accessible. 

Find the Right Backup Solution for You

When it comes to keeping documents safe, you need to find the right backup solution that’s right for your needs. Depending on how you use your MacBook, you might not feel all of these choices above are the right fit. 

If you’re a professional, it’s worth investing your time and money in securing your files and photos. Otherwise, it’s okay to be a bit more flexible and creative. No matter how much we trust our MacBooks to protect our data and information, they’re never completely safe. Not only can they break, but they also are sometimes accessible to hackers. 

Having a few different, secure backup options keeps your computer safe no matter what. The last thing you want to risk is the files and photos that matter to you. How do you keep them safe?


Icons sourced from FlatIcon.