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macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 2, 2015
Lincolnshire, UK
Hi all,

I'm relatively new to macs so have a couple of questions.

I've just bought an iMac and got all my stuff transferred across.
The guy i bought it off tried to sell me his time capsule(?) which I couldn't really afford.

Do i need this or can I just simply back up to an external drive (i.e. I have an old seagate one which I guess I can just plug in?)

Does the time capsule bring anything new- see they're pretty expensive on the apple store!!


macrumors regular
Aug 11, 2010
Glasgow, Scotland
You can use an external drive as a backup location. Just format it, then open Time Machine and point it to whatever you've named the drive you want to use as backup.
I use an 2TB external drive as my Time Machine backup destination.


macrumors 603
Jul 8, 2011
Your Seagate should be fine. I have 2 Seagate for my old iMac and they work great. Good enough for what I need them to do. One drive is for cloning and the other I use with Time Machine.


macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
OP wrote:
"Do i need this or can I just simply back up to an external drive (i.e. I have an old seagate one which I guess I can just plug in?)"

You -don't need- the Time Capsule, and in fact I would recommend against it as a number of people have had them fail due to internal overheating problems.

Instead, you just need an external backup drive.
USB3 is the best type for backup.

I recommend a BOOTABLE backup drive as the best backup protection. If you ever get into an "I can't boot!" situation with the Mac, you just connect the backup, and boot back up. Once done, you can keep going while you try to find out what's wrong with the internal drive.

You haven't told us how old your previous computer was.
If it was -very- old, you may need to re-initialize the external drive to get it to work properly with the latest Mac OS'es...

Ray Brady

macrumors 6502
Dec 21, 2011
Does the time capsule bring anything new

The advantage of the Time Capsule is that it's a Wi-Fi router and a hard drive in one. You can therefore back up wirelessly without the need for an extra device. However, Time Machine backups can be done to any external drive. Your Seagate should work fine.


macrumors 65816
Nov 7, 2009
Irvine, CA
I have an Airport Extreme with a 3TB usb drive attached. Its much cheaper, but USB performance is slower so backups can take a while. The good thing about time machine though is I never have to worry about that.
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