So I have a Time Machine backup (on an external USB hard drive) that was made from a 2010 MacBook Pro. I think the computer was running the latest OS at the time the last backup was made -- Nov 2013, probably Mavericks, but maybe Mountain Lion.

There are some pictures in that backup as well as a lot of personal files. I would like to recover these pictures and personal files. The computer from which the backup was made has since been completely erased and reformated and sold. My only hope is recovering the files from TimeMachine.

I am now working from a 2014 MacBook Pro. I can connect the TimeMachine disk via USB and see it appear in finder, etc., but I can't seem to browse the backup and select the pictures and personal files that I would like to duplicate onto my new machine.


When you click the time machine icon in the menu bar, hold the option key. The menu will change to "Browse other time machine backups", and you should be able to access the old machine's backup in that manner.

  • I can't see the Time Machine icon in the menu bar. When I start Time Machine the perspective shifts out of normal mode into a Time Machine history perspective mode. I can't see a TimeMachine icon in the Dock, either. – jononomo Jan 11 '15 at 3:34
  • You can add the time machine icon to the menu bar by opening System a Preferences (beneath the Apple menu on the left) and selecting the Time Machine preference. Then the option-click should work for you. – Kent Jan 11 '15 at 4:11
  • I opened Time Machine part of System Preferences and checked "Show Time Machine in menu bar" but I still don't see how to access it. – jononomo Jan 11 '15 at 4:31
  • Nevermind -- I see it now in the top right with the small arrow/clock icon. – jononomo Jan 11 '15 at 4:32
  • 1
    You can also get to the "Browse Other Time Machine Disks" option by right-clicking or control-clicking or click-and-hold on the Time Machine icon in the Dock. – ganbustein Jan 11 '15 at 10:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .