Time Machine to APFS: When a network backup goes wrong

The Eclectic Light Company

Being more complex and dependent on other systems, making Time Machine backups to shared storage on your network is more prone to fail. As I’ve spent much of the day sorting one such failure out, I thought it might be useful to discuss what went wrong and what went wronger.


My M1 MacBook Pro (MBP) doesn’t normally have external storage attached, so I’ve configured it to make backups to a shared backup volume on my M1 Mac mini, using Time Machine to APFS (TMA) running over Wi-Fi through my adjacent router. As it’s unusual for both M1 Macs to be running at the same time, with the shared disk attached to the Mac mini, the last such backup was a couple of weeks ago (please don’t tut me). Since then there hasn’t been a great deal of change on the MBP apart from updates to macOS 11.3.1 and Xcode…

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