How to Backup Your Data Before Resetting Your MacBook Pro

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Resetting your MacBook Pro can be a necessary step to fix persistent issues or prepare your device for a new owner. However, it is crucial to back up your data before doing so, to avoid losing important files and settings. In this detailed guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to ensure your data is safe and secure before you reset your MacBook Pro.

1. Choose Your Backup Method

There are several methods to back up your data. The most common ones include:

  • Time Machine Backup: A built-in feature on macOS that allows you to back up your entire system to an external drive.
  • iCloud Backup: Apple’s cloud service that lets you store your data online.
  • Manual Backup: Copying essential files and folders to an external drive manually.
  • Third-Party Backup Services: Using software like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! for creating backups.

2. Prepare Your External Storage

If you are using an external drive for your backup, ensure it has enough space to accommodate your data. Here’s how to prepare your drive:

  1. Connect the External Drive: Plug your external hard drive or SSD into your MacBook Pro.
  2. Format the Drive: Open Disk Utility (Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility). Select your external drive, click on the “Erase” tab, and format it as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or APFS if you’re using macOS High Sierra or later.

3. Back Up Using Time Machine

Time Machine is an excellent tool for creating a comprehensive backup of your MacBook Pro. Follow these steps:

  1. Set Up Time Machine: Go to System Preferences > Time Machine.
  2. Select Backup Disk: Click “Select Backup Disk” and choose your external drive.
  3. Start Backup: Click “Back Up Now” to initiate the backup process. Time Machine will back up all your files, applications, system files, and settings.

4. Back Up to iCloud

For those who prefer cloud storage, iCloud is a convenient option. Here’s how to back up your data to iCloud:

  1. Open System Preferences: Go to System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud.
  2. Enable iCloud Drive: Check the box next to iCloud Drive and click on Options to select the folders you want to back up.
  3. Enable iCloud Backup for Apps: Scroll down and check the boxes next to the apps you wish to back up.

5. Manual Backup

If you prefer to manually back up specific files and folders, follow these steps:

  1. Create a Backup Folder: On your external drive, create a new folder named “Mac Backup” or something similar.
  2. Copy Essential Files: Drag and drop important files and folders from your Mac to the backup folder. Consider backing up your Documents, Pictures, Music, and Desktop folders.
  3. Export Emails and Contacts: If you use Apple Mail, go to Mail > File > Export Mailbox to save your emails. For contacts, open the Contacts app, select File > Export > Contacts Archive.

6. Use Third-Party Backup Software

If you prefer a more automated and comprehensive backup solution, third-party software like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! can be very useful:

  1. Download and Install: Download Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! from their official websites and install them on your Mac.
  2. Configure Backup: Open the software, select your source (Mac’s internal drive) and destination (external drive), and start the backup process.

7. Verify Your Backup

Before proceeding with the reset, it’s crucial to verify that your backup is complete and accessible:

  1. Check Backup Contents: Open your external drive and ensure all your files and folders are present.
  2. Test Access: Try opening a few files to ensure they are not corrupted and are accessible.

8. Additional Steps

Depending on your specific needs, you might also consider the following additional steps:

  • Backup Browser Bookmarks: Export your bookmarks from your web browser to your external drive.
  • Backup Application Preferences: Some applications allow you to export preferences or settings.
  • Backup Photos: If you use the Photos app, you can export your photo library to an external drive.


Backing up your data before resetting your MacBook Pro is essential to avoid losing important information. Whether you choose to use Time Machine, iCloud, manual backup, or third-party software, taking the time to ensure your data is safe will give you peace of mind. Once your backup is complete and verified, you can proceed with resetting your MacBook Pro with confidence.