I’m sure as a Mac user you’ll agree your Mac is essential to you.
Which is why it’s vital to backup and protect your data.
Western Digital’s My Passport for Mac is a great place to start. In this article you’ll find the answers to your questions about how long it takes for a My Passport for Mac to backup. What does it back up?
And more key backup questions you have on your WD hard drive for Mac.
Please read on.
How Long Does My Passport For Mac Take To Backup?
Depends on how quick your Mac’s internal hard drive can transfer your files out to the My Passport for Mac drive. And how much data you have to back up on your Mac.
Looking at a couple of examples.
How Long With A Newer Mac With SSD’s In To A My Passport For Mac
Newer Macs and MacBook Pro’s and MacBook Air’s have SSD drives inside. An SSD is a solid state drive. A solid state drive is an electronic drive. They have no mechanical moving parts inside to slow them down. So they’re fast.
A typical read speed of a Mac’s internal SSD is 2259 MB/s. You’ll be connecting your WD My Passport for Mac over USB C on a newer Mac computer. Your USB cable won’t be the bottle neck here.
Your Mac will read your data from its own internal drive and write it to your Passport drive for Mac over USB.
The Western Digital My Passport for Mac’s typical write speed is 118 MB/s.
Look at the Mac’s internal SSD reading at 2259 MB/s. Versus your Passport for Mac’s write speed at 118 MB/s. You can clearly see that it’s your Passport for Mac’s external hard drive that’s the slower of the two.
Say you’ve 500GB of data on your Mac to backup.
To work out how long it’ll take to backup. The first thing is to convert GBytes to MBytes.
500GB x 1024 = 512000 Megabytes of files.
512000 divided by 118 give you the number of seconds on your My Passport for Mac.
This Equals 4338.98 seconds.
Divided by 60 gives you the minutes. 72 minutes or 1 hour 12 minutes to backup.
But what if you’ve got an older Mac with internal hard drives in?
Let’s look at an example.
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How Long With An Older Mac With HDD’s In To A My Passport For Mac
I tested my Old Mac. A MacBook Pro Mid 2010 with a full 250GB hard drive.
The read speed of the hard drive on the 2010 MacBook is 45 Mbytes/s.
Right away you can tell by the read speed of 45 Mbytes a second on the old Mac. Versus the Passport for Mac’s write speed at 118 Mbytes a second.
That it’s going to be the old Mac holding up the speed of the backup.
Convert GB to MB.
250GB x 1024 = 256000 Megabytes of data.
256000 divided by 45 equals 5699.88 seconds. Divide by 60 gives you 94.81 minutes. Or nearly 1 hour 35 minutes.
So how does that compare to a new Mac with SSD’s?
Compare it to 250GB of data on a newer Mac with SSD drives.
256000 Megabytes of data divided by 118 gives you 2169.49 seconds. Or a shade over 36 minutes to backup on a WD My Passport for Mac.
Wrapping Up How Much Time WD My Passport Drive For Mac Takes
You’ll have to bear in mind this is the best case scenario. And depends on what else is going on on your Mac while you’re backing up.
If you’re working on a large complex spreadsheet. Or some other memory intensive or compute intensive stuff on your Mac. Then your Mac will prioritize your work over your backup.
Still, these figures will give you some idea of how long a WD My Passport for Mac takes to back up your Mac.
And another thing. Not all backup’s you do on your Mac are the same. Read on to discover why.
What Does My Passport For Mac Backup?
Using Time Machine on your Mac to back up to your WD My Passport external drive. Your WD My Passport for Mac will hold a backup of everything on your Mac. Except your Mac operating system files.
Since MacOS Catalina Time Machine no longer backs up your Mac OS. – Your Mac operating system. On the new Mac operating systems Big Sur and Monterey. You’d recover your operating system using your Mac’s Recovery mode.
You can find out how using this Apple document here.
Other than your Mac’s operating system. A Time Machine backup to your Passport external drive for Mac will backup all your Mac’s data.
This includes everything in your home folder. Your files, documents, spreadsheets. photos, movies, music. Your personal settings on your Mac. Any user file. The applications on your Mac. Settings for those applications.
Everything outside your core MacOS backs up to your external hard drive. – Your My Passport for Mac.
But unless you use other software to backup. Your data needs to be on your Mac and not in a cloud backup.
Why Each Time Machine Passport For Mac WD Backup Is Different
The reason why, not all backups to your My Passport for Mac are the same.
Is because your initial backup with Time Machine is a full backup.
Time machine keeps a file history. And on the next backup run Time Machine works out which file has changed. Then backs up your changes to your WD drive. And so, on your My Passport for Mac you have what’s called an incremental backup.
So the next backup pass through is a lot faster.
This means your My Passport Time Machine backup is incremental forever.
Does My Passport For Mac Backup Photos?
Yes, using Time Machine your My Passport for Mac will backup all photos stored on your Mac. Including your photos in your Photos library in the Photos app on your Mac.
Plus photos in your Pictures Folder.
And photos stored in other photo editing software you use on your Mac.
If you’ve photos on your iPhone. You’ll need to import them onto your Mac. Before you can back them up onto your My Passport drive with Time Machine.
Photos stored in iCloud Photos. Or other cloud storage like DropBox or Google drive you’ll also need to download.
WD Discovery software (provided free on your drive). Does have the ability to backup your photos in your social media accounts to your My Passport for Mac drive.
Does My Passport For Mac Backup Automatically?
Your My Passport for Mac will only backup automatically if all of the following is true.
1. You have your My Passport for Mac plugged into your Mac’s USB port.
2. Time Machine system preference is set to backup automatically. When your Mac sees your Passport for Mac connected.
Then Time Machine will take.
A backup each hour for 24 hours.
Then keep a daily backup for a month.
After that keep your weekly backups for as long it has backed up.
How Do I Know My Passport For Mac Is Backing Up?
You easily check. First set your Time Machine preferences to ‘show Time Machine in menu bar’. You do that from;
Apple Menu – Click on the Apple icon top left on desktop. System preferences. Click on Time Machine. Put a check mark in the box.
The Time Machine icon will now be at the top of your Mac’s desktop
Click on it and you’ll see the progress of your Time Machine backup to your My Passport for Mac. Proving your My Passport for Mac is backing up. And how much more there is to back up to your external hard drive.
How Do I Know When My Passport For Mac Is Done Backing Up?
Click on your Time Machine icon at the top of your Mac’s desktop.
And from the drop down menu you’ll see confirmed the date and time of the last backup taken to your My Passport for Mac. Then you’ll know your My Passport for Mac is done backing up.
Want to know the answer to the question. ‘How to Backup My Mac On My Passport?’ Head over to this article on the site ‘WD My Passport Time Machine‘.
And find out all about setting up your My Passport for a Time Machine backup.
Using Time Machine to back up your Mac to a WD My Passport for Mac is easy.
And keeps your files safe if your Mac gets stolen or fails.
It’s never too late to start to backup and have some peace of mind.
While you’re here do take a look at our other WD My Passport related articles on the site.
About Paul Gregory
I’ve been a system administrator for various corporates for 15 years. And as admin I’ve helped many with their Mac’s and there many Apple devices.
I’m excited by watching users, armed with a little knowledge take control of their Mac’s and their files. And why not?
When I’m not at work or working on the site I like to chill with few beers. And watch a bit of car racing. From Formula 1 to stock car racing. The competition is my thing.