Seagate Backup Plus Time Machine title image

You want to take a backup of your files to your Seagate Backup Plus with Time Machine.

Because it’s the smart thing to do.

Then if the worst happens, you’ll have a copy.

Just in case you deleted or changed a file. And you want it back.

Or you upgraded your Mac and now you want everything you had on your old Mac on your new Mac.

If your Mac gets stolen. You’ll be devastated but at least you’ll have a copy of all you had on there.

How To Use Time Machine With Seagate Backup Plus

1. Switch On And Log Into Your Mac Or MacBook.

And Plug In Your Seagate Backup Plus.

Have your USB C adaptor to hand if you have a Mac with USB C ports.

Not sure what that is? Take a look at my How to Use Seagate Backup Plus article.

Be sure your Seagate Backup Plus is formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system if your running Monterey or earlier.  If not you’re good to go.

Your Mac may ask you if you would like to use your Backup Plus drive with Time Machine. If it does, you can click on the dialog box and have your whole Backup Plus drive used for Time Machine.

If your Mac hasn’t offered to use your Backup Plus with Time Machine.

Read on.

From Mac OS Ventura

2. Open System Settings.

System Settings From Apple Menu

Scroll to the General option in System Settings and click. Then Scroll down to Time Machine and click.

System Settings General Time Machine

3. Click The Button Add Backup Disk.

System Settings Time Machine Add Backup Disk

Click on your Seagate Backup Plus drive.

System Settings Time Machine Seagate Backup Plus Setup Disk

4. Then Click The Button Setup Disk.

Click on your Backup Plus external drive.

Already Use A Backup Drive? Click the + symbol and then pick your Seagate hard drive.

Your Mac will then format your Backup Plus hard drive. And set your drive up for Time Machine.

5. Show The Time Machine Icon In Menu Bar.

It’s best next to set up your Mac to show the Time Machine icon in your Mac’s menu bar.

You’ll find this super useful when you want to stop, manually start. Or check up on the progress of your backup.

In System Settings click on Control Centre. Then scroll down to Time Machine. Then Click the option ‘Show In Menu Bar’.

System Settings Time Machine In Menu Bar

In Mac OS Releases Earlier Than Ventura.

Earlier Mac OS releases like Monterey or Big Sur the steps are a little different.

2. Fire Up Time Machine.

You’ll find Time Machine though a spotlight search.

Spotlight Search Symbol
Spotlight Search Symbol

Click on the spotlight search magnifying glass at the top of your desktop.

Type System Preferences.

Spotlight Search System Preferences

Next you double click to start System Preferences.

System Preferences may also be part of your Dock. If it is, then you can select System Preferences from there.

From the System Preferences popup window, double click on Time Machine.

Time Machine in System Preferences

3. Now You Setup Time Machine For Your Backup Plus.

Seagate Time Machine 1st Window

Take a look at the check box. This check box sets Time Machine to back up automatically. For now, leave the box unchecked.  You can put a check in the box after you have set up your Back Plus drive if you wish.

And while you’re here also check the box to show Time Machine in the menu bar at the top of your desktop screen.

Put a check in the box to show Time Machine in the menu bar at the top of your desktop screen.

Click on the Select Disk button.

4. Choose Your Time Machine Backup Drive Or Partition.

This next window shows you all available disk drives connected to your Mac that Time Machine can see. 

The list shows your useable drives under the ‘Available Disks’ heading.

Seagate Backup Plus Time Machine Choose Drive

Your Seagate Backup Plus will be on the list.

Or if you’ve created a partition on the Seagate Backup Plus drive to back up to. The partition name will be there.

Click on the Seagate Backup Plus drive.

Or partition on the Backup Plus drive if you have one.

Next you click on ‘Use Disk’

And you’re done. It is that simple.

Time Machine will use your Seagate Backup Plus portable drive for its backups. And this will happen whenever the drive connects to your Mac.

Your Seagate Backup Plus v Time Machine

You might appreciate me spelling out the different things you need for a backup. Because it can be a touch confusing. Particularly if you’re not at all technical.

And the Seagate Backup Plus having Backup as part of its name doesn’t help.

To do a backup you’ll need three things.

1. The stuff you want to take a copy of.  – Your documents, photos, movies, music etc. Easy cause you have all that already on your Mac.

2. A place to put a copy of your stuff. A physical place. An external hard drive. Your Seagate Backup Plus.  The first two items aren’t complete without item number 3.

3. Software on your Mac, iMac or MacBook that does the backup. This software writes a copy of your files to your Seagate Backup Plus external hard drive.

And it’s the same software that reads the files when you need them back on your Mac.  On a Mac you call this software tool Time Machine. It’s provided by Apple as part of your Mac’s operating system.

Great news because there is nothing extra to buy.

One more thing, because you may have seen this in the marketing materials for the Backup Plus drive.

The Seagate Backup Plus has backup software too. Seagate includes some backup software with the portable drive. But this software only works on a Windows PC.

Time Machine is the software of choice on a Mac for backup.

Check Your Seagate Backup Plus Is Large Enough To Hold Your Time Machine Backup

Say you have a 500GB internal drive on your Mac. Then for a Time Machine backup you’ll need at least that amount of space.

Really you should be looking at twice the space and buying yourself a 1TB Seagate Backup Plus. You’ll find out why a little later.

You may want to look at buying an even larger Backup Plus drive. If you know you’ll want to do different things with the drive.

You could split up a larger Seagate Backup Plus into something called partitions.

And say have 1TB set aside to do your Time Machine backup. And another 1TB to store your videos and movies on. As an example.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Red

Time Machine, NTFS And Your Seagate Backup Plus

You bought a Seagate Backup Plus Slim, Backup Plus Ultra Touch or Backup Plus Portable and it is NTFS formatted. Or ExFAT formatted?

Why is that important?

Your Mac cannot use NTFS or ExFAT formatted drives for a Time Machine backup.

But if your Mac is running Mac OS Ventura or later then Time Machine will format your drive as part of the Time Machine setup.  Great if you’re happy for your entire drive to be used for a Time Machine backup.

Not so great if you want to partion your drive and have only part of the drive for Time machine.

If that’s what you want. And if you’re running an earlier Mac OS release like Monterey or Big Sur then you’ll need to format your drive first.

You can format to APFS. But if you’re running and even earlier Mac OS release like Catalina then the format needs to be Mac OS Extended Journaled – also known as HFS+.

Go over to my article “How to Format Seagate Backup Plus for Mac Help! Don’t Freak Out” to find out how.

Reformat and head back here afterwards.

Kicking Off A Seagate Backup Plus Time Machine Backup

To start a Time Machine backup straight away to your Seagate Backup Plus head to the top of your desktop.

There you click on the Time Machine symbol.

Time Machine At Top of Desktop
Time Machine At Top of Desktop

You’ll see a menu. And on the menu you can click on Backup Now.

Time Machine Backup Now
Time Machine Backup Now

Click on that and Time Machine will start preparing your backup.

If this is your very first backup to your Seagate Backup Plus then this preparation could take a while.

Be patient and leave your Mac to prepare the backup and then do the actual backup.

How Do I Know When My Seagate Backup Is Complete?

There are a few ways to tell.

1. You can click on the Time Machine symbol at the top of the desktop.

Time Machine At Top of Desktop
Time Machine At Top of Desktop

You’ll see the number of GB’s backed up and how many there are to backup.

If your Backup is complete. You’ll find out the date and time of the last backup to your Seagate Backup Plus.

2. When your backup finishes, you’ll see the Seagate Backup Plus drive icon on the desktop turn to green.

Be sure to eject the Seagate Backup Plus drive from your Mac when your backup is done.

Right Click to Eject
Right Click to Eject

And store your Seagate Backup Plus away safely. After all it has a copy of your precious files on there.

What Will Time Machine Backup To Your Seagate Backup Plus?

Time Machine will back up all your documents, all the Applications on your Mac. It will backup your photos and Music files.

And if you sync your iPhone and iPad to your Mac. Then they will be not only be backed up to your Mac. They will be backed up to your Seagate Backup Plus as well.

Encrypting Your Seagate Backup Plus Time Machine Backups

Time Machine will encrypt your backups for you should you want.

You can do this on the screen where you choose the drive to use as your backup drive.

On that screen there is another check box where you can select encryption for the backup.

Seagate Backup Time Machine Choose Drive Encrypt
Seagate Backup Time Machine Choose Drive Encrypt

It’s a check box at the bottom left corner of that screen.

Take Care!

These software features on a Mac are by design secure.

Even the FBI has problems accessing Mac data that’s encrypted and secured with a password. If you lose your password you will be in a word of trouble.

How Does Time Machine Work With A Seagate Backup Plus?

The Backup Schedule To Your Backup Plus

As long as your Seagate Backup Plus is connected to your Mac. Time Machine will take a backup each hour for the first 24 hours.

Then daily backups for the next month.

After that it keeps weekly backups for as many months as there is room on your Seagate Backup Plus.

This is the reason why you should have a backup drive twice the size of all the files you’re backing up.

That way you can store several years of backups on your Seagate Backup Plus.

Or you can simply plug in your Seagate Backup Plus whenever you’re ready to take a backup. And choose the backup now option.

What Is In Each Time Machine Backup To Your Backup Plus?

Your first Time Machine backup is a full backup of everything except your operating system. Restoring your Mac OS these days is handled separately.

After that initial backup, Time Machine backs up any changes you made to your Mac since the last back up.

This makes the next backup and the ones after that quicker to do.

This means the backup is incremental forever.

What does that mean?

Only your changes are backed up.

This is your changed files and new files. Time Machine keeps a record of the files you delete.

And should the worst happen to your Mac, Time Machine allows you to completely recreate your Mac.

And Time Machine is clever enough to know how to use your incremental backup. It’s used along with the original full backup to recreate everything on your Mac.

It’s the smart way to backup.

In Closing

And there you have it. All you need to connect your Seagate Backup Plus to Time Machine. And start off all your backups.

Go ahead. I know you can do it. Give it a try. You’ll find it easier than you think.

And please feel free to check out my other articles all about the Seagate Backup Plus.

Related Articles

Seagate Backup Plus NTFS Driver for Mac Uncertain You Need It

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Review Protect Your Family’s Docs

Seagate Expansion VS Backup Plus Who is on Top For Mac

How To View Files On Seagate External Hard Drive Mac Easy