Q: Time Machine solution

I’ve given upon network Time Machine backups…they fail randomly, one destination works and another setup identically doesn’t, one laptop works and one doesn’t. I switched to aCarbonCopyCloner job to a share instead of TM to a .dmg file…this works as it should. Numerous other cloning or sync software should also work depending on what you have a license for.

Yeah, I find that Time Machine is only as good as the connection to the disk.

My Synology back goes from an ethernet connection on my iMac to a LAN port on an Orbi Wifi 6 Satellite through Wifi 6 backhaul to a Wifi 6 main router in the family room then over ethernet to the Synology.

Synology share is set up with checksumming on, a quota 1.5-2x the hard disk size, share in the time machine list, and a SMB protocol connection. It will work (like the local time machine which lives in a ventilated OWC Thunderbay 4 enclosure as a JBOD disk) for months at a time, but will eventually succumb to some quirk in macOS processing and the Time Machine will need to be reformatted if a local disk or the share deleted and redefined if on the Synology.

I considered a NAS/Time Machine setup a while back, but I never really trusted TM because, at least in the early days, it seemed like a black box. The I figured Retrospect would do pretty well, and though I haven’t looked at it in years, that’s the next possibility for me. In the mean time, I use CCC locally to two 3T drives, and succumbed to Code42’s CrashPlan for Small Business wiles. Yes, I was unhappy when they eliminated the home version and jacked up the price, but they keep previous versions of files, which was the dealbreaker for me with Backblaze. Plus, their tech support has been outstanding. Whatever I (and you) do locally, reliable backups offsite are a must.

If you really want to go the local network/NAS route, Retrospect might be a good solution (full disclosure, I used to work at Dantz last century), but again, I haven’t looked at it in a long time. Love to know how well it’s working these days.


Just looked again, and again it has only this morning’s backup. No error message that I can find, but it apparently eats its own spawn. Weird, and very disheartening.

Dear all,

As I read your posts (for which I’m grateful) I’m coming to the realization that a reliable TM-like solution (files sequentially going way back, over WiFi) no longer exists (and Apple’s was never that reliable, either, just better than not having it), period. I’m away from home for a while, but when I get back I’ll try the suggestions, look more closely at what SuperDuper or CCC can accomplish, and fool around with the hardware I now own; I’m unwilling to buy new stuff unless I’m pretty sure it’ll work as planned. Sic transit … C’est la vie … bite the bullet :cry:

Under Big Sur, I back up my M1 MBA to two volumes. One is a Time Capsule continuously connected by ethernet (well, when the MBA is in my study) and the other is an external drive intermittently turned on and connected by USB.

Absolutely on the random—the iMac has never had a problem, but from 2015 to 2020, the MacBook averaged about eight months before Time Capsule said it was time to start afresh. I regret having purchased the Time Capsule.

I would repurpose it as a pseudo-NAS, but I would forget to back it up, and I don’t need nearly that much space.

I finally gave up on network backups. I kept having those backups fail when needed them most. I now attach a separate 1 TB SSD to each Mac, and I have had no problems since I did this over a year ago.


@Robert - While I haven’t given up altogether, that’s probably the only reliable method left today, and probably what I’ll end up using. In the end, I’m extremely disappointed with Apple for having discontinued, rather than improved, their novel and very useful capability. First, most users today have a home network. Second, there’s almost daily news lately of hacker-compromised systems, clouds and ISPs, and that seems to guarantee increasing insecurity of data in the future.

We had this discussion in another thread a few years ago, and I shared a possible approach to using Time Machine across a network that works around the problem of it not having a client/server architecture.

@jkalogeras, nice to see you here! It’s been ages since Dantz. I’m hoping to look at Retrospect 18 again soon.


CarbonCopyCloner has been 100% bulletproof since I ditched networked TM backups for me…create a share on the remote Mac…launch CCC and select Remote Macintosh as the destination. I’ve had them going that way for 6 months or so and they just work…even if the laptop is asleep when it’s time.


Thanks Adam! Yes, it’s been ages – I’m not even sure who I know at Retrospect anymore, but I’ll find out if I ever get the NAS backup off the ground. Looking forward to seeing what you think of Retrospect 18.

I’d be very interested to hear your results.

I am interested in Retrospect. I used it years ago and read recently that they have a way to backup offsite with a time lock feature to prevent ransomware.

Yeah, that’s discussed here and is what caught my interest as well.

Retrospect sounds good, and is most likely a reliable solution for most, but some of the data I have is not only highly important for me, it’s stuff that legally may never go on another server or cloud, most especially not a US-based service. I need to have a way to regularly back stuff up locally, always and exclusively under my lock and key. (Clarification: I’m not a CIA type with “eyes-only” top secrets, just a doctor in Europe, where the GDPR rules strictly protect patient-related data.)

Checkout Arqbackup.com if you haven’t already.

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Retrospect is fully capable of supporting local-only backups with no net connect necessary. That was its only mode for years.

3 posts were split to a new topic: iPlum and HIPAA

@Mark - I didn’t know that - thanks. Now Retrospect and Arq both seem to be good for me. The only problem I have yet to solve is getting the backups to work reliably over WiFi, replacing (and improving) Apple’s AirPort Utility/Time Capsule system - in other words, making a robust and reliable wireless Time Machine. I thought NAS would do this, but some of the posts here are discouraging.

I just got 2 suggestions (and Retrospect was also suggested)

  1. Synology NAS with their Drive feature https://www.synology.com/en-global/dsm/feature/drive

  2. iSCSI

Anyone have any experience/suggestions with these?