Back up with iCloud

One of the simplest ways to back up your Mac is with iCloud Drive and iCloud Photos. Together these keep online copies of:

To check that your desktop and documents are being backed up:

  1. Click Apple menu > System Settings.
  2. In the sidebar, click your name or picture.
  3. To the right, click iCloud and then iCloud Drive. Ensure it’s turned on.
  4. Next to Apps Syncing to iCloud Drive click Options.
  5. Ensure that Desktop & Documents Folders is ticked.
  6. Click Done.

To check that your photos are being backed up:

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. From the menu, choose Photos > Settings.
  3. Click iCloud.
  4. Ensure iCloud Photos is ticked.

Consider combining iCloud with a local disk backup using Time Machine.

Testing it

In the same way that it’s wise to test your smoke alarms, you might want to do a drill now and then to be sure your iCloud backups really are working. The best way is to check the iCloud website, which gives you a direct view of your online storage as opposed to the local data on your Mac:

  1. Open a web browser, like Safari.
  2. In the address bar (at the top) type and press Return on your keyboard.
  3. Sign in using your Apple ID (the email address you used when you set up your Mac) and its corresponding password.
  4. If prompted, use your iPhone, iPad or another Mac to approve the sign-in. It will generate a one-time passcode to type in the spaces provided.
  5. Click iCloud Drive.
  6. Check that a document or other file you made recently is present.
  7. Go back, click Photos, and check that your most recent photo or video is present.