How To Transfer Everything From Mac To External Hard Drive

Share This:

Are you looking to transfer all of your data from your Mac to an external hard drive? If so, you’re in the right place. In this blog post, we’ll go over the steps necessary to move all of your important files and folders from your Mac to an external hard drive.

First and foremost, you need to make sure that the external hard drive is compatible with the Mac operating system. Once you have verified that it is, then it’s time to start transferring the data. The easiest way to do this is by using Finder.

Step 1: Open Finder and locate the files or folders you want to transfer. You can do this by either searching for them in the search bar at the top right corner of Finder or by navigating through each folder until you find what you’re looking for.

Step 2: Once you have files and folders highlighted, select and hold (or right-click) the folders, then select Show more options > Send To. Select your external storage device name from the list of options. Your files and folders will begin copying to your drive. If for some reason you can’t move or copy a file or folder, make sure that its permissions settings are correct – if not, change them accordingly before proceeding further.

Step 3: Once all of your data transfer has been completed, make sure to disconnect your external hard drive safely and securely from your Mac by following these steps:
– Go to Finder > Eject [your device name]
– When prompted “Do you want to eject [your device name]?” click on Eject
– Wait a few seconds until a message appears on the screen saying that it was ejected successfully

That’s it! You now have successfully transferred all of your important data from your Mac onto an external hard drive. Now that everything is safely stored away, be sure to remember where it is so that in case something happens in the future where you need access to it again – like a computer crash or loss of data – it will be easy for you to locate and retrieve those necessary items quickly!

How To Transfer Everything From Mac To External Hard Drive 1

Moving Files to an External Hard Drive

Moving all your files to an external hard drive is a great way to save space on your computer and make it easier to access your files. To do so, first, make sure your external hard drive is plugged into your computer. Then, open the folder containing the files you would like to transfer and select them by pressing CTRL + A (for Windows) or Command + A (for Mac). Once you have highlighted all the files and folders, right-click on the selection and select Show more options > Send to. Select your external hard drive from the list of options, and the files will begin copying over. Depending on how many files you are transferring, this process can take some time; however, once completed, all of your selected files will be stored safely on your external hard drive!

Inability to Transfer Files from Mac to External Hard Drive

There could be a few different reasons why you are unable to transfer files from your Mac to an external hard drive. Firstly, you may need to check the permissions settings of the file or folder you are attempting to transfer. If the permissions are set to not allow for transferring, then this could be preventing the file from being moved. Additionally, you may need to check the permissions settings of the disk, server, or folder where you want to move the item.

If the permissions settings are correct and allow for transferring, then there could be an issue with either your Mac or your external hard drive. It is possible that either one of these devices may not be compatible with one other. Additionally, there could be an issue with connectivity between your Mac and an external hard drive. You can try changing out any cables that connect these two devices and restarting both your Mac and external hard drive in order to reconnect them properly.

Backing Up Mac to External Hard Drive Without Time Machine

Backing up your entire Mac to an external hard drive without Time Machine is a simple process. First, you’ll need to connect your external hard drive to your Mac. Once connected, open the Disk Utility application on your Mac and select the external hard drive from the list of devices in the left panel. On the right side of the window, select “Erase” from the top menu and choose a name for your backup drive. Next, select “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” as the format type and click “Erase” to create a new volume on your external drive. After erasing is complete, click “Done” and then open Finder. In Finder, locate your internal hard drive in the left panel and drag it onto your newly created backup volume in the right panel. This will start copying all of your files over to the external hard drive. Allow this process to finish before disconnecting the external drive from your Mac.

Transferring Photos from Mac to External Hard Drive

The easiest and most straightforward way to transfer photos from a Mac computer to an external hard drive is to use the Finder. First, quit the Photos application. Then, open the Finder and navigate to the folder that contains the photos you wish to transfer. Select all photos that you want to move, and drag them into a folder on your external hard drive. When the transfer is complete, you can open the folder on your external hard drive to view and manage your transferred photos.

Getting a Mac to Recognize an External Hard Drive

To get your Mac to recognize your external hard drive, first, check the connections and make sure the external disk drive has a sufficient power supply. Then try to re-plug the hard drive into different USB ports, making sure to plug it in slowly each time. If the USB port is loose, try using a different one that is firmly connected. Additionally, you may need to format the hard drive with Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or APFS format before your Mac will recognize it. Finally, if all else fails, restarting your Mac may be necessary for it to properly detect the external hard drive.

Do Macs Compatible With All External Hard Drives?

Yes, some external hard drives may not work with Macs. This is because not all external hard drives are formatted to the same file system. Macs use the HFS+ file system, but some external hard drives may be formatted in NTFS or another format that is not supported by macOS. Additionally, a loosely connected or frayed USB cable can prevent the Mac from recognizing the external drive. To make sure your external hard drive will work with your Mac, make sure it is formatted to HFS+ and that it is securely connected via a USB cable.

Backing Up an Entire Mac

Backing up your entire Mac is easy. The first step is to set up Time Machine, the built-in backup feature found in macOS.

To set up Time Machine, open the System Preferences app and select Time Machine from the list of options. In Time Machine settings, you’ll need to select an external storage device as your backup destination. On macOS Ventura or later, click the add button (+) and follow the onscreen instructions. On earlier versions of macOS, select Select Backup Disk and again follow the onscreen instructions.

Once you’ve selected an external storage device, Time Machine will start backing up your entire Mac automatically – including system files, applications, music, and photos – every hour while your Mac is connected to the external storage device. You can also manually back up when needed by clicking Back Up Now in Time Machine settings.

If you ever need to recover lost or deleted files from a previous backup session, simply open Time Machine and use its intuitive interface to find and recover any file or folder you’ve previously backed up.

how to transfer everything on mac to external hard drive

Does Time Machine Backup All Files on a Mac?

Time Machine does not back up everything on your Mac. It does not back up system files, such as the macOS operating system or installed applications, nor does it back up any files stored on an external hard drive. Time Machine does back up all files that were part of the macOS installation, including photos, music, and documents. Additionally, Time Machine will automatically back up any other files you have added to your Mac since you first set it up.

Copying a Folder from Mac to an External Hard Drive

To copy a folder from your Mac to an external hard drive, first, plug the hard drive into your computer using a USB cable. Then, open the folder on your Mac containing the files you wish to copy. Right-click (or control-click) on the folder, and select Copy from the menu. Next, open the external hard drive in Finder or File Explorer. Right-click (or control-click) anywhere inside this folder and select Paste from the menu. The folder should then appear in the external hard drive directory. Finally, click and drag the folder from its original location on your Mac to its new destination on the external hard drive if you wish to remove it from your computer too.


In conclusion, an external hard drive is a great way to back up your data and free up space on your Mac or another device. The process of transferring files and folders is quick and easy. You can also use Disk Drill to create a byte-to-byte backup of your drive or partition, ensuring that all of your data is safe and secure. With an external hard drive, you can have peace of mind knowing that all of your important files are protected from accidental deletion or theft.

Share This:
Photo of author

James Walker

James Walker has a deep passion for technology and is our in-house enthusiastic editor. He graduated from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and loves to test the latest gadgets and play with older software (something we’re still trying to figure out about himself). Hailing from Iowa, United States, James loves cats and is an avid hiker in his free time.