How to Restore a Mac to an Earlier Date

Use a Time Machine backup to roll back your Mac

What to Know

  • On an M1 Mac, shut down your Mac and then hold down the power button until it says Loading Startup Options.
  • On Intel Macs press the power button and hold down Command-R. Release it when you see the spinning globe.
  • Enter password (M1 Macs: > Options > password). Restore from Time Machine Backup and choose drive and date.

If you start running into problems on your Mac, you can always restore it to an earlier date to try to undo any recent changes you've made. In this article, we'll teach you how to use Time Machine on both M1 and Intel Macs.

How to Restore a Mac to Previous Date

If you already have backups turned on, then you can go ahead and take advantage of the restore function built into macOS. For the most part, the steps are similar between Intel and M1-based Macs. However, Apple did change the way you access the macOS Utilities functions, which include the restore and reinstall functions.

Time Machine settings on Mac

If you don't have Time Machine running on your Mac, then you need to get it set up and running in order to restore your Mac. Our article on using Time Machine on a Mac is all you need to get started.

How to Restore to a Previous Date on M1 Macs

If you're using an M1 Mac and you need to restore to a previous date, go ahead and shut down your Mac. Then, follow the steps outlined below.

  1. Press and hold the power button until Loading Startup Options appears on your Mac's screen.

  2. Click Options and select your account and enter your administrator password.

  3. Select Restore from Time Machine Backup.

  4. Next, select the date you want to restore from and then follow the rest of the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

How to Restore to a Previous Date on Intel-based Macs

If you need to restore an Intel-based Mac from a Time Machine backup, you're going to want to shut it down entirely. Then, follow the steps we've outlined below.

  1. Press the power button and hold Command-R until the spinning globe appears. Release Command-R at when the globe appears.

  2. Type in your admin username and password.

  3. Click Restore from Time Machine backup.

  4. Select the date you want to restore to and then follow the rest of the instructions.

  • How do I back up a Mac without Time Machine?

    Another option for backing up your Mac uses Disk Utility, but it's a way more involved process. First, connect a newly formatted hard drive to your computer, and then restart while holding Command + R to enter Recovery Mode. Once it restarts, go to Disk Utility > select your external drive > Edit > Restore > Restore From > select your hard drive > Restore.

  • How do I restore a Time Machine backup on a new Mac?

    To transfer your data to a new computer, connect the drive containing the backup while you're setting up the new Mac. During the initial process, you can choose to transfer data from the drive, similarly to setting up a new iPhone from an iCloud backup.

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