Apple’s Time Machine is a very easy-to-use backup program – all you have to do is turn it on and then it automatically backs up the entire contents of your Mac’s hard drive. However, Time Machine has limitations. For instance, you can tell it not to back up specific folders, but you can’t tell it to back up only a specific set of files.
In this Masterclass, we’ll explore Automator – one of the more overlooked features in OS X – and use it to write our own backup app for automating the backup of certain files to a memory stick. It’s easy to do, and also shows how easy it is to use Automator for performing a range of common tasks.
1. Getting started You’ll find Automator in the Applications folder on your Mac’s hard disk. When you launch it, Automator displays a number of different options, such as adding alarms to iCal or importing images using Image Capture. However, we want to create a backup app, so click the Application option.
2. Files and folders Automator understands that applications are designed to work with specific files and folders, so it now prompts us to drag the files we need into this window. We’ll use the C-tab keyboard shortcut to switch back to our Mac desktop and locate the files that we want to copy.