Back Up Mac Computers to an External Device


Syncplicity or One Drive should be your primary backup methods for Elon University items but outside of this and if you wanted to backup your personal items (pictures, videos and music folders), which Syncplicity nor One Drive do natively, you will do the following:

All of your personal files should be saved within your username folders (i.e. your Desktop, Documents, Library, Movies, Music, and Pictures). If your files are not stored within your username account, it is important to re-arrange your files, so you can easily back up your computer.


  1. Click Go from the top toolbar then select Home
  2. Select your data: Left click and drag the Desktop, Downloads, Documents, Music, Movies, and Pictures folders to your storage media.

macOS finder window showing a home folder


Handy Hint

  • For backups of individual files, network storage, a jump drive, or CDs are appropriate.
  • For full backups of all of your computer data, we encourage the use of an external hard drive.
    • For instructions on how to automatically back up your full system using Time Machine, a program built into the macOS, click here.
After completing these steps, remove your storage media and keep it in a safe and separate location away from your computer. It should always be kept away from extreme heat, extreme cold, and magnetic items.


Article ID: 78063
Fri 5/10/19 9:38 AM
Mon 1/15/24 10:59 PM
Internal or External

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