to commonly asked questions.

Finding items from your Time Machine backup drive

Hey Scotty, I did a big cleaning but now it appears I lost some things I need. Can you walk me through going into my backup sometime soon?

Two ways to recover items from your backup drive.

1. Use Apple's space warp interface by selecting "enter time machine" from the menu bar.
2. Do it manually.

Which method you choose depends on what you're looking for. Individual emails or pictures, best to open your mail program or Photos then enter time machine and scroll back to a time you remember having them, then select to restore. You can also open a specific folder in the finder then enter time machine and it will allow you to look back in time to how the contents of that folder changed. But for most everything else, I like to just go in manually. Here's how.

With you backup drive plugged up, go to the "Backup.backupsdb" folder. It should be the only folder on the backup drive. From there, navigate to the following:

Macintosh HD//date of a recent backup/ Users/your user/

You'll see a very long list of dated folders. I usually like to go about 1 week prior to the latest backup. Do not use "latest backup". If you don't find what you're looking for in that folder, go to an earlier version. Eventually you should be able to find what you're looking for. Sometimes you jump back too far and get an outdated version of a document so keep looking in different dates until you're happy with the version you find. From there, just drag the item(s) back to the desktop and file them away where ever you'd like.

Manually looking through the backup folder does not work for individual emails, addresses, calendar events or pictures that only lived inside Photos. For those issues, it's best to use the Apple Space warp interface. Open the program you want to reover entries from like Address Book (now called Contacts) then enter time machine.
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