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What’s the difference between Time Machine and Time Capsule?

A client wrote yesterday and asked, what’s the difference between Time Machine and Time Capsule?

Apple Time Machine

Apple's Time Machine icon. Image from Apple's website.

Time Machine is a piece of software that comes free with every Mac. When you set up and run it, the software makes a backup of your computer every hour, to any external hard drive. The first time it backs up it takes awhile, because it’s backing up everything on your computer. After that, it only backs up anything that’s changed since the last time.

To activate it, buy an external hard drive and plug it into your Mac. Then go to System Preferences–>Time Machine to set it up.

Watch Apple’s video on Time Machine basics.

Apple Time Capsule

Apple's Time Capsule. Image from Apple's website.

Time Capsule is a piece of hardware that is made by Apple and that you need to buy. It’s two devices in one–a wireless router, and a hard drive. So the wireless router lets you create a wireless network in your home or office. The hard drive serves as the destination drive for your Time Machine backups, so Time Machine can back up wirelessly over the air.

More info on Time Capsule is on Apple’s website.

You can use Time Machine without Time Capsule.

You could also use Time Capsule without using Time Machine, to create a wireless network and as a place to store files–but most people use it for wireless and for their Time Machine backup.

Related Posts:

Is your Time Machine really backing up your Mac?

5 tips on backing up your Mac

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