Author or Editor: Jennifer Mccartney - Edit

Backing Up Data on Your Mac

Before you get a new Mac laptop, you’ll want to make sure you’ve backed up all the data from your existing machine so that you can transfer it to your new one. (And it’s always a good idea to regularly back up your data!)

The instructions below are specific to a Mac.  Contact your Learning Technology Coach(LTC), Instructional Technology Coordinator (ITC), STEM Coordinator, or LTP Site Coordinator (LTPSC) if you have questions or would like help with this process.

Backing Up Files and Media

What should you back up and transfer? Anything that’s stored locally on your Mac may contain items you wish to back up and transfer. This may include items in your Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Movies, Music, and Pictures folders. On a Mac open a Finder window and click on your name* in the left hand menu to find these items.

screenshot of Finder preferences*Don’t see your name on the left? Go to the Finder menu > Preferences, click on the Sidebar tab, and check the box next to your name to show this item in the sidebar. 

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Desktop: Files saved to your Desktop

DocumentsAny documents you’ve created in Microsoft Office, Pages, Keynote, and Numbers may be saved here

DownloadsFiles downloaded from email or the web

MoviesProjects created in iMovie as well as any video you’ve exported or saved

MusicAny projects you’ve created in GarageBand as well as your iTunes library

PicturesThe contents of your Photos library

To ensure your photo library does, in fact, live in your Pictures folder, hold down the <Option> key when opening the Photos application, look at the file path, and make sure the Photos Library is in the Pictures folder.screenshot of file path for photos

Where should I save the data I want to transfer?

Option 1 (Recommended): Upload files to Google Drive from your old computer and then download the files to your new laptop. You can do this by going to drive.svvsd.org on your new computer, clicking on a file or folder, and downloading the files to your new computer (see directions here).

Option 2: Use an external flash or hard drive. Plug in a drive to a USB port on your old computer and drag any folders or files you want to back up to the drive. Then plug the drive in to the your computer, open the drive and drag the files to the new computer. Note: If you are transferring any files that contain student data, your external drive must be encrypted or password-protected.

Option 3: You may be able to use iCloud to back up some data (documents, bookmarks), but free storage is limited to 5 GB so this option is limited if you have a lot of media files.

screen shot of hidden files

How can I save my data to Google Drive?

For each of the six folders above (Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Movies, Music, Pictures) you can choose to click and drag individual files or entire folders from your Mac to Google Drive.

Note that if you drag folders, you will find that Google Drive will display some normally hidden files that begin with a “.” or “~$”. Just ignore these files.

If you have a lot of media, your Movies, Music, and/or Pictures folders may be quite large. Google will split large folders into multiple compressed files, which can make it difficult to restore to your new Mac.

Best practice for large folders:

  1. Click on the folder (for example Music) to select it
  2. Right click and choose “Compress” (or go to File > “Compress”) and compress the folder
  3. Drag the compressed folder (it will end in “.zip”) to Google Drive

Note that compressed files will be large. If you have limited storage on your Mac you may need to create the compressed file, upload it to Google Drive, then delete the compressed file (and empty your Trash) to free up storage space.

screenshot of compressed filescreenshot of zipped file

Backing Up Bookmarks

If you have bookmarks you’d like to keep you’ll need to backup and transfer those as well.

Chrome

  1. On your old Mac, open a Chrome browser window and go to Chrome > Preferences… 
  2. Make sure you’re signed in (If not, click on Turn on sync…, log in with your svvsd Google account, and click on Link Data)
  3. Once signed in, click on Sync 
  4. Make sure Bookmarks (or Sync Everything) is turned ON
  5. On your new Mac, launch Chrome and click on Turn on sync… and sign in with your svvsd Google account
  6. When prompted, click the Link Data button and then Turn on

screenshot Chrome preferencesscreen shot syncing preferences

Safari

Option 1: Use iCloud (Recommended) screenshot of Safari preferences

  1. On your old Mac, open System Preferences > iCloud
  2. Sign in with your Apple ID (if you aren’t already and check the box to sync Safari
  3. At the pop-up window asking if you want to merge your bookmarks, click OK
  4. Repeat the three steps above on your new Mac

Option 2: Manually export and import Bookmarks

  1. On your old Mac, open up Safari and go to File > Export Bookmarks
  2. Choose a location (for example your Desktop) to save the file
  3. Drag the file to your Google Drive
  4. On your new Mac, open Google Drive, navigate to the saved bookmarks file, right-click on it and download
  5. On your  new Mac, open Safari and go to File > Import From > Bookmarks HTML File…
  6. Navigate to find the downloaded bookmarks file and click Import

Note: Your imported bookmarks will be in a folder called “Imported <date>.” In Safari, go to Bookmarks > Edit Bookmarks and move the imported bookmarks to “Favorites” so they’ll show up on your Favorites bar.

Firefox

Option 1: Sync with a Firefox Account (recommended)

  1. On your old computer, open Firefox and go to Firefox > Preferences… screenshot of Firefox preferences
  2. Click the Sync tab on the left and then Create Account (or Sign In if you already have a Firefox account)
  3. Create an account with an email of your choice and then verify the account when prompted
  4. Check to sync Bookmarks
  5. On your new computer, launch Firefox and go to Firefox > Preferences…
  6. Click the Firefox Account tab on the left and then sign in with the account created above

Option 2: Manually export and import Bookmarks

  1. On your old Mac, open up Firefox and go to Bookmarks > Show All Bookmarks
  2. Click on the bookmark (star) button and choose Export Bookmarks to HTML…
  3. Choose a location (for example your Desktop) to save the file
  4. Drag the file to your Google Drive
  5. On your new Mac, open Google Drive, navigate to the saved bookmarks file, right-click on it and download
  6. On your  new Mac, open Firefox and go to Bookmarks > Show All Bookmarks
  7. Click on the bookmark (star) button and choose Import Bookmarks to HTML…
  8. Navigate to find the downloaded bookmarks file and click Open

Note: Your imported bookmarks may not be in the same location (Bookmarks Toolbar, for example) as on your old Mac. In the Bookmarks window, you can click and drag your bookmarks around to re-arrange them.

Future Backups 

After your transfer is complete you need to backup your computer consistently. Backing up files is your responsibility so if your files are important to you, please take steps to backup your data. 

How do I back up?

Option 1 (Recommended): Upload any essential files to Google Drive. Our svvsd.org Google accounts have unlimited space but if you continue to edit documents on your computer they will not be automatically saved to your Google Drive.

Option 2: Use an external flash or hard drive. Plug in a drive to a port on your computer and drag any folders or files you want to back up to the drive. If you choose to purchase a drive, you might want to explore Time Machine for regular backups. If you want to use Time Machine, Apple recommends using a drive that is at least twice the size of your internal hard drive, which would be 500 GB for our new MacBook Airs.

Last updated by mccartney_jennifer on 2019-06-18 05:49:07

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