Has iCloud Replaced Time Machine?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ncbetz, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. ncbetz macrumors 6502


    Jan 9, 2016
    Texas, USA

    So recently, my Time Machine has not been backing up my Mac... Then I realized, do I even need Time Machine if I have every box checked in the iCloud tab of System Preferences? Please let me know! Does Time Machine do something iCloud does not?

  2. MC6800 macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2016
    The main thing Time Machine does that iClould doesn't is in its name-- allows you to go back in time to any earlier version. It also backs up everything, including any added apps and all system and app preferences. That stuff's not usually critical, but may be a pain to reconstruct. I also generally don't trust iCloud (or any file syncing) to not sync an older version on top of newer changes.
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    No cloud service -- neither Apple's nor anyone else's -- will EVER "replace" the convenience and security of having a fully-bootable cloned backup of your main drive "close-at-hand"...
  4. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Yes, Time Machine does much that iCloud does not. Time Machine backs up everything on your Mac - all configurations, preferences, apps, user accounts... You can get your entire computer back with a minimum of fuss if you need to erase or replace the HDD or move to a new Mac. Sure, it can be time-consuming - a Time Machine restore may take all night, but you can walk away instead of spend hours at the computer trying to get things back the way they were.

    iCloud stores specific user data, if you choose - the Desktop and/or Documents folders, iCloud Photo Library, iTunes library (if you use Apple Music or iTunes Match), plus Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Notes, and the like. That may be enough for your needs, but you may have a lot of additional work to do if you need to recover from a disaster - reinstalling apps, reconfiguring preferences, getting your Dock back to the way you like it... If you have a POP mail account, you've lost your message archive. If you don't keep all your photos in iCloud Photo Library or you placed files in your Public folder, if you failed to move documents and data from Downloads into Documents or Desktop... you're SOL. If your computer has multiple login accounts, are you sure all the other users have similarly enabled all those iCloud features?

    As Joni Mitchell wrote and sang, "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone!"
  5. v3rlon macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2014
    Earth (usually)
    I taunt my Windows friends with this story.
    Buy a new Mac
    Select restore from another Mac's Time Machine backup (something like that language anyway)
    Go watch a movie (ok, maybe Return of the King, extended edition).
    Come to new mac and EVERYTHING is just like your old mac, but faster. You do not need to input a ton of serial numbers (Anthropic's DRM may be an exception), install a bunch of software, or even muck with preferences. It just works.

    I couldn't get that experience on Windows if I just upgraded the motherboard, never mind the entire computer.

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