Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
This just in:
I am an avid reader of your column in the Houston Chronicle. A few decades ago, a hard disk crashed, and I lost some stuff I hadn’t backed up to discs, but I had been doing a lackadaisical job.
I was delighted when Apple came up with the Time Capsule, but after my 2nd one crashed and Apple quit selling them, I just bought 2 Seagate 2TB HDs, one for each of our MacBooks. Seagate had their own backup system, but I thought I’d call Apple Support, asking for any help they could give me.
Much to my surprise, we have a Time Machine app that worked with the now-defunct Time Capsule. I thought they were interchangeable terms. So now the Time Machine app is managing my backups and could do so with anyone’s external HD, I gather.
If you said all this in an article, I missed it. If you didn’t, I would suggest it needs to be said. It’s certainly in keeping with your regular warnings about backing up one’s files.
Thank you for your column. I try to read it each week.
John in Houston
Allow me to clarify…
Time Machine and Time Capsule are Two Different Things
Apple’s Time Capsule and Time Machine are two different products that worked beautifully together until Apple discontinued Time Capsule, which was a wireless router with a built-in hard disk that made wireless backups using Apple’s Time Machine backup software.
It was a brilliant hardware concept, but it was plagued by reliability issues, which is probably why it’s no longer available.
Time Machine, on the other hand, is the easy-to-use backup software included with macOS since time immemorial.
For what it’s worth, Time Machine is hardware agnostic—it works with almost any third-party hard or solid-state drive connected directly to your Mac.
Alternatives to the Now-Discontinued Time Capsule
By the way, although Apple no longer offers a wireless backup solution, other vendors including Western Digital and Synology do. Better still, both support Time Machine .
So that’s the story. Time Capsule was a router/hard disk combination no longer in production; Time Machine has been macOS’s built-in backup software since time immemorial.
Two More Things You Should Know
There are two more things you should know:.
First, Time Machine works with almost any hard or solid-state disk.
So… don’t waste your money on a disk that claims to be “formatted for macOS.” You’ll pay more than you would for the exact same disk formatted for a PC. Instead, buy the less-expensive PC-formatted disk and reformat it on your Mac using Disk Utility. It’ll take five minutes and save you $10 or $20.
Second, as good as Time Machine is, redundancy is your friend when it comes to backups. You need a minimum of two backups of important data, with at least one of them stored in a remote location.