Configuring Apple Time Machine
Apple’s Time Machine is a built-in backup feature for your Mac that will automatically backup all of your files, apps, music, photos, emails, documents, and system files. When you complete a backup, you can even restore files from your backup if the original files are deleted from your Mac or the hard disk (or SSD) in your Mac is erased or replaced. With Unraid, you can now use Time Machine with the SMB protocol and store your Time Machine backups on your Unraid server!
Note: This guide works with MacOS High Sierra.
Create a Time Machine Backup on your Unraid Server
To create backups with Time Machine and store them on your Unraid server, all you’ll need to do is connect it to your Unraid server and then Time Machine will automatically make:
- Hourly backups for the past 24 hours
- Daily backups for the past month
- Weekly backups for all previous months
- The oldest backups are deleted when your backup disk is full
If you want to control when backups are completed, we suggest you use a tool such as Time Machine Editor so you can customize when backups are made and select a host of other options not available in Time Machine itself.
Unraid and Time Machine Setup
Before you begin, make sure SMB is enabled in the Unraid webgui by going to:
- Settings --> SMB under “Network Services”
- Set “Enable SMB” to “Yes” and click “Apply” (Array must be stopped to change this).
- Also, set “Enhanced macOS interoperability” to Yes as well.
- In the Unraid webGUI, go to "Shares" and click "Add Share”.
- Name the share (Ex: Time Machine).
- Set your minimum free space or leave default. This is the minimum free space available to allow writing to any disk belonging to the share.
- Under “Included disk(s)” select the disk in the array that you’d like to use for your Time Machine share. You can still use this same disk for other shares.
- Keep “Enable Copy-on-write” on “Auto”.
- Under SMB Security Settings.
- Under “Export” select “Yes (Time Machine)”
- Set your “TimeMachine volume size limit”. This limits the reported volume size, preventing Time Machine from using the entire real disk space for backup. Example: setting this value to "1024" would limit the reported disk space to 1GB.
- Set your Security parameters to what you prefer.
- Click Apply/Done.
From here, there are just a few more steps:
- Connect to your Time Machine share by connecting to it through the Finder.
- Next: go to Time Machine Preferences on your Mac and “Select Disk”.
- Your newly mounted Time Machine share should show up. Select this share, enable encryption if desired and click “Use Disk”.
- Now, Time Machine will say it’s trying to connect to your share. Before clicking connect, it’s recommended to eject your mounted share from your desktop and then connect.
- Time Machine immediately begins making periodic backups—automatically and without further action by you.
Note: The first backup may take a long time, depending on how many files you have and the size of your Mac’s harddrive. Thereafter, Time Machine backs up only the files that changed since the previous backup, so future backups should be faster.
Reminder: We suggest you use a 3rd party tool such as Time Machine Editor so you can customize when backups are made and select a host of other options not available in the Time Machine program itself.
That’s it. Now, all of your Time Machine backups will be stored on your Unraid server and if something bad happens to your Mac, you will be able to restore files, settings, and apps from these backups!
So, say you want to create multiple time machine backups for different people/Macs in the house? You will need to create a separate share for each Time Machine backup and separate users in Unraid. For example, say the Stooges want to backup their Macs. If the username on each of the Macs is larry, curly, and moe, you would create Unraid users larry, curly, and moe. Once the users are set up then you would create the individual Time Machine shares (ex: tm-larry, tm-curly, tm-moe). From there, simply follow the instructions above!
For more info on Time Machine shares, be sure to also check out Space Invader One’s excellent video on Unraid Shares and MacOS!