Trending February 2024 # How To Use Accessibility On Mac To Customize Your Experience # Suggested March 2024 # Top 8 Popular

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Did you know that Apple offers many useful features that can make MacBooks easier to use for people with disabilities? In fact, anyone can use these features to control their MacBooks more easily. This guide shows what Apple’s Accessibility features are and how to enable them on a Mac.

What Are Accessibility Features?

The Accessibility features on macOS allow you to customize the way your computer works to suit your needs. For example, you can use these settings to make it easier to see the screen, hear sounds, control the mouse and keyboard, and use other assistive devices.

There are three types of Accessibility features, and they cover three disabilities: visual, hearing, and motor.

Let’s take a look at the three disabilities one by one.

Visual Impairments

Five visual impairment Accessibility features are categorized under the “Vision” heading in the Accessibility menu.

1. VoiceOver

VoiceOver tells you what’s on your screen by reading it aloud. Apple has refined VoiceOver over the years, allowing it to read the text and describe documents, graphs, and objects on the screen with much more detail and precision.

Listening to what’s on your screen with VoiceOver allows you to navigate through your Mac flawlessly, even if you have weak eyesight. It also works with Braille displays, so if you connect one to your Mac, it will automatically send auditory descriptions to it.

2. Zoom

As the name suggests, Zoom can be used to enlarge the content of your screen. You can use Zoom to magnify your screen in three different ways: full screen, picture-in-picture, and split screen.

Full-screen mode lets you magnify the entire screen of your Mac so that you can read the content without squinting your eyes.

In Picture-in-picture mode, a separate window pops up to magnify the content.

In Split screen mode, only a custom area of the screen is magnified.

To use any of the zooming modes, first check the “Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom” option.

Set the modifier key you want to use with the scroll gesture to activate the zoom mode of your choice. In our case, it’s the Control key.

Once set up, press and hold the Control key and perform the scroll gesture on your trackpad to zoom in or zoom out.

You can also enable “Hover Text,” which magnifies whatever you hover your pointer over in a separate window.

The modifier is the button that activates the feature. If it’s set to the Command key, whenever you hover over text while pressing and holding the key, you will be able to see the text magnified in a pop-up dialog.

Even if you aren’t visually impaired, combining Zoom with VoiceOver can make your Mac considerably easier to use in certain situations.

3. Display

Under the “Display” accessibility features, you can tweak your display preferences, pointer, and screen color preferences to better fulfill your visual needs.

Display Tab

From the “Display” tab, invert screen colors, reduce motion, increase contrast, reduce transparency, differentiate without color, show window title icons, and show toolbar button shapes.

You can also tweak your menu bar’s size.

Lastly, to adjust your display’s contrast, use the slider at the bottom of the window and drag it from left to right to increase the contrast.

Pointer Tab

From the “Pointer” tab, use the “Shake mouse pointer to locate” feature, which enlarges the mouse pointer temporarily when shaken. This is helpful to almost everyone (even those without visual impairments), as it’s often difficult to locate the mouse pointer when you start using a Mac after a break.

You can also customize the pointer size, outline color, and fill color to make the pointer easier to view and locate.

Color Filters Tab

The “Color Filters” feature lets you change your screen to different color sets using full-screen filters. Check the “Enable Color Filters” option to activate the feature.

By using the “Intensity” slider, you can decide how intense you want the filer to be.

4. Descriptions 5. Spoken Content

The “Spoken Content” feature is mostly for those who don’t like to –or simply cannot – read content and would rather have their screen read aloud to them.

Under this feature, there are multiple options. First, change the “System Voice,” and hit the “Play” button to preview the voice before setting it.

Adjust how fast the content is read by tweaking the “Speaking Rate” and “Volume” using the sliders.

You can decide how you want to use this feature using four different sub-features.

Speak Announcements

When enabled, this feature speaks out announcements (like notifications) or alerts (like system errors) only.

Speak Selection

With the “Speak selection” feature, the system only speaks out the content that you’ve highlighted.

You can then play with other options, like what kind of content you want to highlight, the word and sentence colors, and styles.

You can also view the controller, which lets you control the speed of the content being read.

Speak Items Under the Pointer

Perhaps the most convenient feature here is “Speak items under the pointer,” which speaks out everything that comes under your pointer.

You can decide whether you want the system to read everything every time or whether you want it to read the content only when you’ve zoomed in on something. To change the setting, use the drop-down.

“Speech verbosity” and “After delay” are two other settings in this feature.

Speak Typing Feedback

The “Speak typing feedback” feature gives you feedback when you’re typing, like suggesting different words and corrections.

From the options for this feature, decide what kind of feedback you want from characters, words, selection changes, and modifier keys. You can select one, multiple, or all.

Hearing Impairments

These features can assist if you have hearing difficulties (whether partially or fully deaf).

1. Audio

Under “Audio”, is the sensory alerts feature, which converts the sound signals of system alerts/announcements into visual signals.

While usually stereo audio has unique right- and left-channel tracks, with the “Play stereo audio as mono” feature, the two tracks, when listened to together, provide a complete listening experience.

However, if you have hearing disabilities, you will find it difficult to differentiate between the two channels. For that, you can switch to mono audio. Simply check the option to do so.

2. Captions

Whether verbal or non-verbal, every dialogue and scene in a video, movie and TV show can be read via the “Captions” feature to assist you if you are hearing impaired.

You can customize the caption settings with different fonts and styles to improve readability using the “Style for subtitles and captions” list.

Motor Impairments

Motor accessibility features will help if you cannot use the keyboard, mouse, or trackpad to control your Mac due to physical disabilities.

1. Voice Control

With Voice Control, you can control your Mac by speaking to it. There are many commands available for Voice Control, and once you aren’t used to them, you can swiftly navigate through your Mac.

You can perform the following tasks with commands:

Basic Navigation: open and close apps, scroll up and down a page, wake your Mac up and put it to sleep, launch Spotlight and Siri, navigate through different tabs, and so on.

Dictation: speak what you want to type in a text field, and your Mac will convert your audio into text. You can use dictation to type emails without really typing them.

Text Selection: you can also use Voice Control to select text to copy, paste, cut, replace, and format. You can also seamlessly make changes to any part of the text you select.

Use those custom words to create custom commands.

2. Keyboard

The “Keyboard” accessibility features help you maximize the opportunities to control your Mac using your keyboard.

Enable “Full Keyboard Access” to navigate through your Mac without using a mouse or trackpad. It highlights the section of the screen that has the focus so that you can press different keyboard shortcuts to perform different actions.

For instance, you can:

Press the Tab key to move to the next UI element.

Press the Spacebar to select an item.

Press the Spacebar twice to open a folder.

From the “Hardware” tab, enable “Sticky Keys,” which lets you press a combination of keys sequentially instead of simultaneously. Instead of pressing the Command + Spacebar shortcut simultaneously to bring up Spotlight, press the Command key, then follow with the Spacebar key.

3. Pointer Control

You can also tweak your pointer settings to make it easier to use your Mac.

For instance, you can enable “Mouse Keys,” which allows you to eliminate the need for a physical mouse and move the pointer with just your keyboard.

Additionally, use the head pointer to move the cursor with the movement of your head. It uses your Mac’s camera to track your head movement so that if you move your head to the right, the cursor will also move to the right.

4. Switch Control

For users with extreme motor impairments, Switch Control lets them control their Macs with different switch controls, such as joysticks, game controllers, and other adaptive accessories. To show the true capabilities of Switch Control, Apple released a video.

The video was edited by a certified Final Cut Pro video editor using Switch Control.

Frequently Asked Questions Are there new Accessibility features coming?

Yes. Earlier this year, Apple announced innovative Accessibility features that’ll be available across devices. These features include Door Detection, Apple Watch Mirroring, Live Captions, Voice Control Spelling Mode, Buddy Controller, and much more.

What are Live Captions?

Apple is introducing Live Captions for videos on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. The new feature will intelligently generate captions for media when Closed Captions are not available. Live Captions can be used for FaceTime calls, streaming services, and other media. If you’re running macOS Ventura, read on to learn how to enable Live Captions on Mac.

Image credit: Ilya Pavlov via Unsplash. All screenshots by Hashir Ibrahim.

Hashir Ibrahim

With over two years of in-depth experience working in technical fields, Hashir is a master content creator who loves writing about Mac and iOS at major tech publications on the internet like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. Hashir spends his free time boxing and designing his business.

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How To Use Home App And Customize Homekit Accessories On Iphone

Home makes incredibly easy to manage and control your HomeKit-enabled accessories. The easy-to-use interface and the ability to let you customize the accessories as per your convenience makes Home very helpful for users.

Depending on your need or the desire to get the best out of your accessories, you can fine tune them. As for instance, you can change the location or name of the accessory, create your favorite scene or set any accessory your favorite. Let’s walk along with me to customize the accessories perfectly.

How to Use Home and Manage HomeKit Accessories Perfectly on iPhone

How to Add an Accessory in Home on iPhone

First off, you need to add locks, lights, thermostats along with other HomeKit-enabled accessories to get started. Keep your accessory near your iPhone and make sure it’s powered on. Do check out the accessory manual to find out whether it requires extra hardware in order to work with HomeKit.

Step #1. Open Home app on your iPhone.

Step #2. Tap on Add Accessory.

Step #3. When your accessory appears, tap on it. If you are asked to add the accessory to network, allow it.

Step #4. Now, you need to scan the eight-digit HomeKit code on the accessory or accessory documentation using your iPhone camera. You can also enter it manually.

Step #5. Next, you will have to add some information about the accessory. As for instance, you need to add its name and the room in which it’s located in. Siri will quickly identify the accessory you have added by the name and the located in which you have added it.

Step #6. Tap on Next → Tap on Done to confirm.

Note: There are some accessories like Honeywell thermostats which need additional setup through their app.

How to Add Room in Home App on iPhone

You have the option to divide your house into two different rooms. Add some cool items in those rooms and control them with ease.

How to Customize Your Accessories in Home App

Home allows you to edit details such as name, location about your accessory.

Step #1. Launch Home app on your iPhone.

Step #2. Tap on Home tab at the bottom.

Step #3. Next, you need to touch and hold an accessory. Then, tap on Details.

Now, you can add the details about your accessory.

Name: You can name your accessory to identify it in Home and be able to control it with Siri

Location: It lets you assign a location for your accessory like a kitchen

Type: Choose what type of accessory it is. As for instance, a switch or light

Include in Favorites: Enable it to access your accessory in the Home tab, Control Center, and on Apple Watch

Status and Notifications: Enable it to check out which accessories are turned on at the top of the Home tab

How to Create your Favorite Scene in Home App

Scenes allow you to control multiple accessories at once. As for instance, “Bye” scene will let you, adjust the thermostat, turn on all the lights of your home etc.

Step #1. Open Home app → Home tab or Rooms tab.

Step #2. Tap on “+” icon. Then, tap Add Scene.

You have the option to use a suggested scene or create a custom one.

Step #3. Tap on Add or Remove Accessories.

Step #4. Tap on the accessories that you wish to add.

Step #5. Tap on Done to confirm the change.

Now, you can tap and hold an accessory to adjust its settings

In order to preview the scene, simply tap Test This Scene

To access your scene from the Home tab, Control Center, and your Apple Watch, you need to turn on Show in Favorites

In the end, tap on Done to finish.

How to Control Accessories in Home on iPhone

To turn accessories on/off, tap on Home/Room tab and tap on the accessory to turn it on/off

To control accessories like a thermostat, simply touch and hold the accessory to check out its controls. If you want to control accessory from your Apple Watch, add it as a Favorite

Check out the status and notifications to find out which accessories are turned on at the top of the Home tab

There are some accessories such as, lights and thermostats which provide features like brightness, color, and temperature controls. Just touch and hold the accessory to find and adjust additional features

How to Share Control of Your Accessories in Home App on iPhone

You can invite your friends to control your Home accessories. Make sure your friend’s iPhone is running iOS 10 and signed into iCloud.

Step #1. Open Home app → Tap on the Home tab at the bottom.

Step #2. Tap on Rocket button.

Step #3. Next, you need to tap on Invite.

Step #4. Now, enter the Apple ID of the person and then tap on Send Invite.

How to Accept Invite to Control Accessories

When anyone sends an invite to control accessory, you will get a notification in the Home app.

Step #1. Open Home app on your iPhone.

Step #2. Tap on rocket icon.

Step #3. Tap on Home Settings.

Step #4. Tap on Accept and then tap on Done.

Now, you can tap on the rocket button then tap on the name of the Home to control it.

How to Delete Home Data and Reset Accessories on iPhone

You may need to delete Home data and reset accessories when moving to a new home.

Step #1. Launch the Home app on your iOS device.

Step #2. Next, tap on Home tab.

Step #3. Tap on the tiny rocket icon at the top right corner of the screen.

Step #4. Next, you need to scroll down to bottom. Then, tap on Remove Home.

Step #5. Tap on Delete at the bottom to confirm.

To reset your accessories, look for the button on the accessory or check the manual.

How to Troubleshoot HomeKit Accessories Issues from iPhone

Just in case HomeKit accessories are not working properly, follow these tips to fix them.

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Author Profile

Jignesh

Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of chúng tôi who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting content on social media.

How To Use A Mac Keyboard On Windows Pc

If you know about computing systems, you also know the industry is fragmented into two sides: iOS and Windows users.

Moreover, both manufacturers have differentiated their brands in small but significant ways, making it challenging for users to shift between them.

For instance, not only do iOS products have their collapse boxes on the top right corner of their user interface, but their keyboard’s layout is also different from a Windows one.

This got us thinking. Are the differences between the two computing giants so great that you can’t use Mac’s keyboard on your Windows PC?

Join us as we explore this question and explain how to use a Mac keyboard on a Windows PC. We will also include the configuration process and tips for using the keyboard effectively.

Keep reading to learn more.

There are several key differences between Mac and Windows keyboards, both in layout and functionality. Here are some of the main ones.

One of the most noticeable differences between Mac and Windows keyboards is the location and function of the Command and Control keys. On a Mac keyboard, the Command key is located next to the spacebar and is used in combination with other keys to execute keyboard shortcuts. On a Windows keyboard, the Control key is located in the same position, but its functions differ.

Another key difference between Mac and Windows keyboards is the location and function of the Option and Alt keys. On a Mac keyboard, the Option key is located next to the Command key and is used in combination with other keys to execute certain functions, such as typing special characters or accessing hidden menus. On a Windows keyboard, the Alt key is located in the same position and has a similar function, although the shortcuts are different.

The function keys on a Mac keyboard have different default functions than those on a Windows keyboard. Mac’s keyboard function keys are labeled with icons representing common Mac functions, such as adjusting the screen brightness or volume. On the other hand, Windows’ keyboard function keys are labeled with F1, F2, etc., and are used for various functions, such as accessing the Help menu or refreshing a web page.

The Delete key on a Mac keyboard functions differently than the Delete key on a Windows keyboard. On a Mac keyboard, the Delete key functions like the Backspace key on a Windows keyboard, deleting text to the left of the cursor. On a Windows keyboard, the Delete key deletes text to the right of the cursor.

The Home and End keys on a Mac keyboard are located in a different position from a Windows keyboard. The Home and End keys are next to the arrow keys on a Mac keyboard. While on a Windows keyboard, the Home and End keys are located in a separate block of keys above the arrow keys.

Overall, while the basic layout of Mac and Windows keyboards is similar, there are significant differences in the location and function of certain keys. If you’re used to a Windows keyboard, you may need to adjust to the layout and functionality of a Mac’s when using it for the first time.

To connect a Mac keyboard to a Windows PC, you can follow these steps:

Check the type of connector on your Mac keyboard. If it has a USB-A connector, plug it directly into your Windows PC’s USB-A port.

Your PC will present the available pairable devices. Select your keyboard and type in the number that will appear to pair the two.

Once connected, wait for your Windows PC to recognize the Mac keyboard.

If the Mac keyboard doesn’t work immediately, you may need to install drivers for the keyboard on your Windows PC. You can find the drivers on the manufacturer’s website or by searching online.

Once the keyboard is recognized and working, you can start using it with your Windows PC.

You should also note some Mac-specific keys like Command, Option, and Control may behave differently on a Windows PC. You may need to remap these keys to make them work properly. You can use third-party software like SharpKeys or KeyTweak to remap keys on a Windows PC.

Download your preferred third-party remapping software to remap keys on a Mac keyboard for a Windows PC. Then follow these steps to remap keys using SharpKeys.

Download and install SharpKeys on your Windows PC.

Restart your PC and connect your Mac keyboard.

In the Type Key section, press the key on your Mac keyboard that you want to remap. This will show up in the From key box.

In the Type Key section, press the key on your Windows PC to map it to the Mac key. This will show up in the To key box.

Repeat the process for the other keys you want to remap.

Restart your Windows PC to access the changes.

Apple Magic Keyboard

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

See Price

The Apple Magic Keyboard is a sleek and stylish wireless keyboard designed for Apple devices but can also work with Windows PCs. It features a slim profile and low-profile scissor mechanism, providing a comfortable and responsive typing experience. The keyboard has a built-in rechargeable battery that can last up to a month on a single charge.

Apple Wired Keyboard with Numeric Keypad

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

See Price

The Apple Wired Keyboard with Numeric Keypad is a durable and reliable keyboard designed for Mac and Windows users. It features a full-sized layout with a numeric keypad, making it a great option if you frequently work with numbers. The keyboard connects to your computer via USB and is easy to set up and use.

Logitech MX Keys

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

See Price

The Logitech MX Keys is a high-end keyboard designed for both Mac and Windows. It features a comfortable design with a low profile, a responsive typing experience, as well as backlit keys. The keyboard also has a built-in rechargeable battery lasting up to 10 days on a single charge.

Another standout feature of the Logitech MX Keys is its ability to seamlessly switch between up to three devices, making it an excellent option if you frequently switch between multiple devices.

The war between Macs and PCs has existed since the introduction of home computers and is still ongoing. Moreover, if you’re like us, you enjoy the friendly banter and probably have a thing or two to say. However, you may also need to use your Mac keyboard with a Windows PC, and it’s great to see this is much easier than you’d expect.

But as with everything when crossing the two ecosystems, you might need to manually map out some of the keys to help you keep the same workflow as using a Windows keyboard. Besides that, the experience of using a Mac keyboard on a Windows PC is quite painless.

You can connect a Mac keyboard to a Windows PC using a USB cable or via Bluetooth. Simply plug in the USB cable or turn on Bluetooth on both devices and then pair the devices using the standard pairing process.

Most Mac keyboards work with Windows PCs, but some models may have specific function keys or features that only work with Apple devices. Before purchasing a Mac keyboard for a Windows PC, it’s a good idea to check the product specifications and compatibility.

You can use a Mac keyboard on a Windows PC, but you may need to remap some keys to get the best experience.

How To Disable Caps Lock On Your Mac

Unless your work requires typing headlines for banners or things like that require capitalized characters, you most likely are not using the Caps lock key on your keyboard. In my case it is the least used key; I rarely need to use it.

If you happen to be someone who does not use the Caps lock key too often, you might want to disable it completely on your Mac. That way you will also not accidentally hit it when you are typing a password on a website which is case sensitive in most cases.

Here’s how to do that.

Disable Caps Lock on Your Mac

4. On the screen that appears select “No Action” from the “Caps Lock Key” drop-down menu. What it does is tell your machine not to perform any action when the Caps lock key is pressed. It makes the key inactive on your machine.

You can now press the Caps lock key on your keyboard and should notice that it does not work anymore. It just does not perform any action at all.

Conclusion

If you do not use the Caps lock key frequently on your keyboard, you can have it disabled using the above method.

Image Credit: Caps lock

Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who’s written thousands of posts about various tech topics on various sites. He specializes in writing about Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android tech posts. He’s been into the field for last eight years and hasn’t spent a single day without tinkering around his devices.

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How To Use Instagram On Your Android

Setting up an Instagram account

To set up your new Instagram account, you will need to download Instagram for Android and open it.

Once you are in the application, you will need to press the Sign Up tab. Here you will need to add an email address, username and a password to continue. Optionally, you can add in your phone number and a profile picture.

Adding Friends to Instagram

After entering in that info to create the account, you can search for your friends who already use Instagram. You are given the option of either looking in your phone’s address book or searching your Facebook friends. If you choose the Facebook option, you will need to sign into your Facebook account and authorize Instagram.

If you want to skip the friend search, you can always choose a couple of people to follow from the suggestions Instagram gives you. You can always go back and add more people from the suggested user list if your real life friends are boring.

Instagram Main Screen Icons

The icons along the bottom are:

Home – Brings you back to the stream of images from people you are following.

Explore – Shows a bunch of popular (and usually pretty cool) images from random users.

Camera – Press this to initiate taking a picture or use it to select an image from your phone’s photo gallery.

Bubble with a heart– This is your News tab. You can see what images the people you follow like. In the You tab is where information about who wants to follow you and who likes your images will be displayed.

Taking a picture with Instagram

Pressing the Camera icon in the bottom row will activate the Android’s camera. You may be asked to choose the camera or photo gallery. If you would like to add filters to an image previously stored on your phone, select photo gallery. Otherwise select camera and capture the image.

Using Instagram Filters

The screen directly after you take your picture is where all of the fun takes place. There are a lot of different adjustments and filters to use.

The icons across the top of this screen are:

Top left icon – Removes the border some filters use.

Droplet icon – Adds different blur shapes, either a circle or a line. You can also move the center point with your finger to focus in on a certain part of the image.

Sun icon – Use this to lighten and darken the image.

Tilted square icon – Rotates the image clockwise.

The Filters are along the bottom of the screen are:

Normal – No change to the image. Amaro – Lower quality looking image.

Rise – No boarder with a slightly cloudy look.

Hudson – Lower contrast image with a black boarder.

Sierra – White boarder with a higher contrast exposure.

X-Pro – Thin black boarder. Adds an almost journalistic look to the image.

Lo-Fi – Slightly degrades the image and adds a thin boarder. The image almost looks like it was set on a piece of paper.

Earlybird – White boarder and adds an early morning light feel.

Sutro – Darkens the image and adds a black boarder.

Toaster – Gives the image a white boarder and adds a slight burned look to a portion of the image.

Brannan – Darkens the image and adds a slight amount of contrast, adds a thin black boarder.

Inkwell – Black and white image with a white boarder.

Walden – Adds a foggy effect and a black boarder.

Hefe – Darkens the image and adds a black square boarder

Valencia – Adds a slight brightness to the image.

Nashville – A blue-ish green-ish color and a black square boarder.

1977 – Faded and vintage looking with a square white boarder.

Kelvin– Kind of a sepia golden color with a boarder of warn edges.

Upload your image to Instagram

After the effects are added, it’s time to upload the image. You have a few choices here. Adding a caption so people know what the picture is. Also you can add a Geotag to show the location where the picture was taken.

Conclusion

Instagram is pretty easy to use and can add a lot of flair to your images. Do some playing around and I’m sure you will find out how fun it can be and why so many people take so many random pictures.

Which is your favorite Instagram filter?

Trevor Dobrygoski

Trevor is a freelance writer covering topics ranging from the Android OS to free web and desktop applications. When he is not writing about mobile productivity, He is coaching and playing the world’s greatest game… Soccer.

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How To Use Seagate Backup Plus On Mac? (2 Solutions)

Home » Tips » How to Use Seagate Backup Plus on Mac?

Do you love your Mac as much as I do? My Mac is my workplace. It contains every article I’ve ever written. It holds every photo I’ve ever taken, contact details for the people that matter to me, and recordings of the songs I’ve written. If something goes wrong, everything could disappear forever!

That’s why I keep careful backups of everything that matters to me, and so should you. An easy way to do that is to copy it to an external hard drive. The right Mac app will make sure it happens automatically, and the right external hard disk makes it easy.

Seagate makes excellent hard drives for backup purposes. In our roundup Best Backup Drive for Mac, we found that their drives were the best in two major categories:

The Seagate Backup Plus Hub is the best external hard drive to keep at your desk. It requires a power source, offers two USB ports for your peripherals, has a maximum data transfer rate of 160 MB/s, and comes with 4, 6, 8, or 10 TB of storage.

The Seagate Backup Plus Portable is the best external hard drive to carry with you. It’s powered by your computer, comes in a sturdy metal case, transfers data at 120 MB/s, and comes with 2 or 4 TB of storage.

They’re Mac compatible and offer excellent value. I use them myself.

Purchasing one is the first step in keeping your data safe. The second step is to set up your computer to reliably and automatically keep an up-to-date copy of your files. Unfortunately, Seagate’s Mac software is not up to the job—it’s terrible. How can Mac users back up their computers reliably?

The Problem: Seagate’s Mac Software is Not Up to the Job

A company that calls their hard drives “Backup Plus” is obviously serious about helping you back up your computer. Unfortunately, while their Windows program will perform full scheduled backups, their Mac app only mirrors certain files.

Here’s how it’s described in the Seagate Toolkit User Manual:

The Mirror activity lets you create a Mirror folder on your PC or Mac that is synced to your storage device. Whenever you add, edit, or delete files in one folder, Toolkit automatically updates the other folder with your changes.

What’s the problem? While the Windows app automatically keeps a second copy of all of your files—they’re all protected—the Mac app doesn’t. It will only copy what’s in your Mirror folder; anything outside of that folder won’t be backed up.

It also means that if a Mac user accidentally deletes a file, it will be deleted from the mirror. That’s not how a true backup should work. While Windows users would be able to recover the file if it was deleted in error, Mac users won’t.

None of that is ideal. Neither is the fact that the software only works with certain Seagate drives, and not at all with products from other manufacturers. As a result, I recommend you don’t use this software for your backups. We’ll explore some alternatives below.

In case you’d like to try Toolkit first, let’s briefly look at how to install and use it.

Backing Up Mac with Seagate Toolkit

Make sure your hard drive is plugged in, then install the software. You’ll find Seagate Toolkit for macOS on the Seagate Support web page.

After installation, the app will run in your menu bar, waiting for you to configure it. Mirror Now places the mirror folder in the default location (your home folder). Custom allows you to choose where to locate the mirror folder.

In my Toolkit tests, this is where I began to have trouble. Here’s what I did: first, I selected the Seagate drive I wanted to use to back up files.

But because it’s already configured as a backup drive using different software, Toolkit refuses to use it, which is understandable. Unfortunately, none of my spare drives were made by Seagate, so the software refused to acknowledge them, and I couldn’t test it further.

If you’re curious, you can find further information in the online user manual and knowledge base.

Solution 1: Back Up Your Mac with Apple’s Time Machine

So Seagate’s software doesn’t allow Mac users to create full, scheduled backups. How can you use your Backup Plus hard drive? The easiest way is with Apple’s own software.

Time Machine comes preinstalled on every Mac. We found it the best choice for incremental file backups. I use the software on my own computer to backup to a Seagate Backup Plus external hard drive.

An incremental backup stays up-to-date by only copying files that are new or have been modified since your last backup. Time Machine will do this and a lot more:

It will create local snapshots as space permits

It will keep multiple daily backups for the last 24 hours

It will keep multiple daily backups for the last month

It will keep multiple weekly backups for all previous months

That means that each file is backed up multiple times, making it easy to get back the correct version of your documents and files if anything goes wrong.

Setting up Time Machine is easy. When you first plug in an empty drive, macOS will ask you if you want to use it to back up with Time Machine.

That gave me enough time to change the defaults if I wanted to. Options include:

I can save time and space by deciding not to back up certain files and folders

I can allow the system to back up while on battery power. That’s a bad idea because bad things can happen if the battery runs out halfway through a backup

I can decide just to back up my own files, excluding system files and applications

I decided to stay with the default setting and let the backup start automatically. Time Machine began by preparing the initial backup, which took about two minutes on my machine.

Then the backup proper began: the files were copied to the external hard drive (in my case, an older Western Digital drive I had laying in a drawer). Initially, 63.52 GB needed to be backed up in total. After a few minutes, a time estimate was displayed. My backup was completed even faster than expected, in about 50 minutes.

Solution 2: Back Up Your Mac with Third-Party Backup Software

Time Machine is a good choice for Mac backups: it’s conveniently built into the operating system, works well, and is free. But it’s not your only option. Tons of alternatives are available. They have different strengths and may create different types of backups. One of these may meet your needs better.

Carbon Copy Cloner

Carbon Copy Cloner is a solid option for hard drive cloning or imaging. That’s a different backup strategy than Time Machine: instead of backing up individual files, it makes an exact copy of the entire drive.

After the initial duplicate is made, Carbon Copy Cloner can keep the image up to date by backing up only the files that have been modified or newly created. The clone drive will be bootable. If anything goes wrong with your computer’s internal drive, you can boot from the backup and continue working. That’s convenient!

Other features include:

A “cloning coach” that warns of configuration concerns

Guided setup and restore

Configurable scheduling: hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and more

SuperDuper!

Shirt Pocket’s SuperDuper! v3 is a simpler, more affordable disk cloning application. Many of its features are free; the full app costs $27.95 and includes scheduling, smart update, sandboxes, and scripting. Like Carbon Copy, the clone drive it creates is bootable.

ChronoSync

Econ Technologies ChronoSync is a more versatile application. It can perform just about every type of backup you’re likely to need:

It can synchronize your files between computers

It can back up your files and folders

It can create a bootable hard disk image

However, it doesn’t offer cloud backup as Acronis True Image (below) does.

Scheduled backups are supported. You can configure your backups to be performed automatically each time you attach a specific external drive. Incremental backups are supported, and multiple files are copied simultaneously to save time.

The software costs a little more—$49.99 from the developer’s web store. A more affordable version can be purchased from the Mac App Store for $24.99. It’s called ChronoSync Express. It’s feature-limited and unable to create bootable backups.

Acronis True Image

Acronis True Image for Mac is the most expensive application in our roundup, starting with a $49.99/year subscription. It also offers more features than the other apps on our list.

The base plan offers active disk cloning, and the Advanced plan (which costs $69.99/year) adds half a terabyte of cloud backup. You can download the software and purchase a subscription from the developer’s website.

Mac Backup Guru

MacDaddy’s Mac Backup Guru is an affordable app that creates a bootable clone of your hard drive. It offers three types of backup in total:

Direct cloning

Synchronization

Incremental snapshots

Any changes you make to your documents are automatically synced. You can choose not to overwrite older backups so you can go back to an earlier version of a document.

Get Backup Pro

Finally, Belight Software’s Get Backup Pro is the most affordable third-party backup program on our list. You can purchase it for just $19.99 from the developer’s website.

Like ChronoSync, several types are offered:

incremental and compressed file backups

bootable cloned backups

folder synchronization

You can backup to an external drive, network drive, DVD, or CD. Backups can be scheduled and encrypted.

So What Should You Do?

You’ve decided to protect your data by backing up your Mac, and as a first step, you got a Seagate Backup Plus external hard drive. If you’re a Mac user, do yourself a favor and ignore the software that came with the drive. It doesn’t offer the features you need.

Instead, use an alternative. You already have Apple’s Time Machine installed on your Mac. It’s reliable, easy to use, and will keep multiple copies of every file so you can choose the version you want to get back. It works well, and I use it myself!

Or you can choose a third-party app. These offer additional features and backup types. For example, Carbon Copy Cloner and others will create a bootable backup of your hard drive. That means if your main drive dies, rebooting from the backup will get you working again in minutes.

Whichever software you choose, start today. Everyone needs a reliable backup of their important files!

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