Time Machine - Frequently Asked Questions

26.  What should I do about multiple User Accounts?

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In a word, nothing.

Time Machine is a system-wide application;  every backup backs-up all the changes in your entire system:  OSX, apps, all users and data, unless you specifically tell it not to, as in question #10.

The sole exception is any user account that’s protected with the original File Vault (not File Vault 2 on Lion or later);  in that case, those users’ encrypted home folders are only backed-up when they log out.    See question #25  for details on Time Machine’s handling of File Vault accounts.

Each user’s data is kept separate on your backups, in separate user home folders, just as it is on your system;  and one user doesn’t have access to other users’ backups, just as on your system.  In fact, the backups are arranged in exactly the same way as your system.

Generally, any user can browse or restore from their own backups.  They can also initiate backups, via Back Up Now from the Time Machine icon in their menubar, or by control-clicking (right-clicking) the TM icon in their Dock. 

But only an Admin account (or password) can turn Time Machine on or off, change disks, or modify the exclusion list in Time Machine > Options.