How to Copy Time Machine Backup to Another Drive

Select the main Apple menu >, System Settings >, General. Open Time Machine and deselect Backup Automatically. Drag it to your new drive in Finder, enter your Admin password when prompted, and wait for the transfer to complete.

If you’re running out of space on your current Time Machine backup drive, you might be wondering how to transfer your backups to a new drive. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of copying your Time Machine backup to another drive.

First, you’ll need to connect your new drive to your Mac. When you do this, it will typically appear with a default name in Finder. Open the Get Info window by selecting the drive and pressing Command + I. Here, you can see the drive’s capacity and current format.

To reformat the drive, open Disk Utility and select the new drive. Click on the Partition button and give the drive a new name, then choose a new format. Mac OS Extended (journaled) is the best option for a Time Machine backup drive. Click Apply to erase and reformat the drive.

Next, go back to the Get Info window for the drive and make sure “Ignore ownership on this volume” is checked. Give both of the main user accounts on your Mac read and write privileges.

Before you start copying files, turn off Time Machine automatic backups. Then, copy the backup database folder from your current Time Machine backup drive to the new drive. This may take several hours, as the backups folder can be quite large.

Another option is to clone the Time Machine drive using an app like SuperDuper. This will copy every file on the drive, and can be a good option if you have a lot of data to transfer.

Once the copy is complete, the backup database folder on the new drive should have the same set of folders as the old drive. In Time Machine preferences, select the new drive as your backup destination. You can choose to use both drives or replace the old drive with the new one. Make sure “Back Up Automatically” is checked, and your Time Machine backups will begin again on the new drive.

Copying your Time Machine backup to another drive can take some time, but it’s a straightforward process. With these steps, you can ensure that your backups are safe and secure on a new, larger drive.


How do I copy Time Machine backup to another Mac?
Open Migration Assistant on your old Mac. It's in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder. Then click Continue. When asked how you want to transfer your information, select the option to transfer to another Mac.
Does Time Machine clone the hard drive?
Time Machine cannot be used to clone a hard drive. It only supports backing up files on your macOS hard drive, not the whole disk. If you want to clone a hard drive, you can use the Disk utility or a third-party utility, like EaseUS Todo Backup for Mac.
Does Time Machine copy everything?
A Time Machine backup makes it easy to transfer all your data and apps from one Mac to another. But it cannot back up everything on your Mac computer. That's to say, Time Machine is not enough to create a backup for Mac devices.
Can Time Machine backup a USB drive?
Time Machine can back up to an external drive connected to a USB, Thunderbolt, or FireWire port on your Mac.