Apple's "Time Machine" backup system can be used in a variety of ways, though people seem to stick to only one method of using the system. Previously, we have covered Time Machine's use in restoring the system to a previous state either to revert back to a prior version of OS X, or to undo an application installation; however, you can also use Time Machine from within programs that support it.
The most commonly used application that interfaces with Time Machine is the Finder, though it is easy to overlook this as a program just like any other. Generally, people use the Finder to navigate to a location, invoke Time Machine, and then browse through snapshots in time at that location to see and restore the available backups.
Keep in mind that although the Finder supports Time Machine, it is not the only application that does so. People have recently contacted us regarding ways to restore lost files, including e-mails and address book contacts where they had been digging through their user libraries, trying to find the proper files to restore.
Like the Finder, both Address Book and Mail fully support and interface with Time Machine, so when you are in these programs you can invoke Time Machine just like you do in the Finder to be able to find lost contacts and e-mails, restoring them directly to the application without having to use the Finder.
Some of the Time Machine Aware programs that Apple provides with OS X are the following:
- Address Book
Do you know of other programs that integrate with Time Machine? If so, post them in the comments. If you are unsure whether a program interfaces with Time Machine, just try invoking Time Machine with the application open. Those that do not interface will revert to showing the top-most Finder window when Time Machine activates, but those that do will show the application and data that can be restored.