How To Back Up Outlook Emails on Mac

This guide reviews why backing up Outlook emails on Mac is crucial, what the benefits are, and tell you about a few different methods to back up Outlook on Mac, including a step-by-step guide for all of them.

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Why Back Up Outlook Emails on Mac

As professionals often use Outlook emails for work, these emails can include sensitive and valuable data which mustn’t fall into the wrong hands. That’s why backing up Outlook emails on Mac is vital in keeping that sensitive information safe and secure.

If you own a Mac, the benefits of backing up will be the same as for a Windows machine user. Here are some of them:

  1. Data loss prevention – Data loss can be frustrating when it happens, and you’ll be mad at yourself if you don’t back up your crucial data. Whether it happens because of a computer crashing or your fault, you should always have backups to recover essential data from Mac.
  2. Switching between multiple devices – If you own multiple devices, you can quickly and efficiently hop between devices and transfer essential Outlook data from one device to another.
  3. Compliance with regulations – Some industries require employees to back up critical Outlook email data regularly, and you must follow the rules.

There are many more reasons for and benefits of backing up Outlook emails on Mac. Whatever your reason is, these backups can be lifesavers in a disaster, and you should back up critical data as often as possible.

How Does Outlook Backup on Mac Work?

backup outlook mac

Unlike using the Outlook application to back up Outlook emails on a Windows machine, doing so on a Mac is slightly different. Namely, the Outlook for Mac application won’t export .csv or .pst files. Instead, Outlook for Mac will create a new file type – an OLM file with the .olm extension.

Moreover, the Outlook for Mac application has a built-in option to export all your Outlook email data, making it even easier than doing so on a Windows machine. By using the export option in the Outlook for Mac app, Mac users can quickly export Outlook email data, such as mail, calendar, contacts, tasks, and notes.

Mac often stores all these emails in an Outlook database on the device, making it easy to transfer to an external drive or a USB stick and increasing the safety of your Outlook email data. Saved Outlook email data makes it easy to recover your critical Outlook emails in case of a disaster.

Where Does Mac Store Outlook Files?

Since Apple’s macOS is inherently different from the Windows operating system, so is the way Mac saves files. The file explorer and folders differ on Mac. You won’t find Outlook files on a Mac the same way you would on a Windows machine.

  • To locate Outlook files on a Mac computer using Outlook 2011 or an older version, you would need to go to:
    /Users/<username>/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 Identities/Main Identity
  • To locate Outlook files on a Mac computer using Outlook 2016 or newer, go to:
    /Users/<username>/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook/Outlook 15 Profiles/Main Profile

You should know what version of Microsoft Outlook you use to find Outlook files on a Mac machine. When you locate Outlook files, you can move on to different methods of backing up Outlook data on Mac.

Three Methods for Backing Up Outlook Emails on Mac

There are various ways to back up Outlook files on Mac. You should use the method with which you’re most familiar. For example, using Time Machine might be easy if you’ve previously used it for other backups. Below are the top three methods to back up Outlook on Mac.

Method 1: Back Up Outlook Using Outlook for Mac

The most obvious way to back up Outlook emails on Mac is to use the Microsoft Outlook app. Since you already use Outlook emails, you’re probably familiar with the Outlook app. Nevertheless, here’s what you must do to back up Outlook emails on Mac via the Microsoft Outlook app:

  1. Open the Microsoft Outlook application on your Mac.
  2. Click the Tools tab in the top left corner and select the Export option.
    select export in outlook mac
  3. Select all the email data you wish to back up on the following screen and press Continue.
    select the emails you want to backup
  4. Choose the backup destination and click Save.
    choose backup destination on mac
  5. Finally, click the Finish button.
    backup outlook on mac completed

You have now exported your Outlook data to an archive or .olm file. You should be able to find that file in the folder you selected during step 5. You can save that .olm file on an external drive, a USB stick, or wherever else you want to keep it safe.

Method 2: Back Up Outlook Using Time Machine

The following method involves using macOS’s Time Machine app, a built-in solution from Apple that deals with all kinds of backups. If you’re familiar with this app, you’ll have no problem backing up files using Time machine. Anyhow, here’s how to back up Outlook emails on Mac via the Time Machine app:

  1. On the desktop, locate the Apple menu in the top left corner and select System Preferences.
    apple system settings
  2. Click General and select Time Machine.
    select time machine
  3. Click the Add Backup Disk button.
    add backup disk
  4. Select the external disk to back up to and click the Set Up Disk button.
    set up disk on mac
  5. On the following screen, you can encrypt your backup, at which point you’ll need to enter a password and a password hint, or you can turn the encryption off. Click Done.
    backup outlook on mac time machine

The Time Machine app will take some time to complete the backup. It will automatically back up your data if you keep the external drive connected to your Mac and your Mac connected to a charging cable. It will also detect your .olm files (your Outlook emails) and back them up to the external drive.

Method 3: Backing Up Outlook Emails on Mac Using Outlook Email Backup Software

If you don’t want to use Microsoft Outlook or Apple’s Time Machine for whatever reason, you can always look up third-party apps to do backups of your Outlook emails. Various applications are available for Mac, and you can find them online. If you search for these Outlook email backup apps, you’ll see many you can use to back up your Outlook emails on Mac.

They have various features and different advantages and disadvantages. Some are free, while you must pay to use others. Still, what’s true for most of these Outlook backup tools is that they’re excellent and do a fantastic job. However, it’s crucial to use apps from reputable brands and sources. Otherwise, you might end up without your Outlook email backups. Even worse, you might damage your Mac system.


Backing up Outlook emails on Mac is as essential as other systems like Windows. You should do it as often as possible if you don’t want to lose vital Outlook email data. Backing up Outlook emails prevents data loss and makes it easy to use multiple devices, migrate to a new system, and comply with regulations.

Various Mac tools can help you achieve that on a Mac system. You can use Microsoft’s Outlook app to export Outlook email data, which you can later save in a safe location. Alternatively, you can use Apple’s Time Machine app to back up all data automatically, including Outlook emails. There are also third-party apps that make this process a breeze.