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The only way I know how to manually start a Time Machine backup is by showing the Time Machine menu bar icon (by enabling that option in System Preferences), and then choosing "Start Backup" from the menu bar icon's menu.

How can I manually start a backup without having to use the menu bar icon?

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    In Terminal, use: tmutil startbackup Also, have a look as its manual page: man tmutil – user3439894 Oct 29 '19 at 23:26
  • @user3439894 do you want to make that an answer? – theonlygusti Oct 30 '19 at 11:49
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If you'd prefer not to have or use Time Machine from its icon on the menu bar, it can be started/stopped, and more, via Terminal, e.g.:

tmutil startbackup

Or:

tmutil stopbackup

The startbackup verb also can take options, i.e:

tmutil startbackup [-a | --auto] [-b | --block] [-r | --rotation] [-d | --destination dest_id]

Have a look at its manual page: man tmutil

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