Tag Archives: Time Capsule

Time Machine and Airport Disks, redux

Update: treat the contents below with caution!

It looks like I could have been mistaken… see the end of the post…

Wireless Time Machine?

OS X 10.5.2 dropped yesterday and after the frenzied upgrading, I’ve been exploring the changes. I can’t say that Apple’s release notes are particularly detailed… for instance, they don’t mention the fact that Time Machine now ‘sees’ disks attached to an Airport Extreme base station as valid backup targets.

I’ve been wanting this for a long time (with “long time” being relative in the tech world!). Over-the-air backups seem like an obvious idea… when I get home with my MacBook Pro I just want it to sync against the network storage. Why shouldn’t that work? Apple seems to agree, given that they’ve now released a product which enables just that.

I attached the USB disk I have been using for Time Machine to the Airport and mounted it. Sure enough, Time Machine can now see it… but when I set it to use that disk for backups, they fail. Time Machine also can’t see the existing backups on the drive. I’ve also tried moving the Backups folder into the Andy folder (my Airport Extreme is set to use User security), but that doesn’t work either. I’m thinking it might be related to the security setting on the Airport… should I be using User, Disk or Base Station password for the disk? Who knows?

Here’s a quick look at what I’m seeing:

Apple haven’t updated their support article yet, so maybe this isn’t really supposed to work, still. Any advice appreciated.

In other news

The other fixes in 10.5.2 seem fair… I’m not going to switch off transparency in my menubar, but the Stacks changes make sense, and Finder seems more reliable at seeing my network. I’ve had Mail freeze on me once, though 😦

Update! Maybe I was wrong?

Back when Leopard first came out I was casting around for solutions to this and came across the hack that suggested setting a hidden option to get Time Machine to show unsupported network disks. The last time I tried it, it didn’t work… but I don’t remember whether I “unset” the option afterwards. Today, Maria Langer reminded me about that tip, and on a hunch I checked to see whether that option was still enabled. It was, so I unset it… and now Time Machine cannot see the Airport Disks.

So – can anyone tell me whether 10.5.2 is “supposed” to backup wirelessly with Time Machine? I saw some leaked screenshots prior to yesterday’s release, which made me think they’d added the feature back… now I’m just confused! That’ll learn me… Can anyone tell me how Time Machine behaves for them, please?

Update: I was wrong

According to the Apple Support Forums, that is.

MacWorld: space, time, air

Having followed the MacWorld news (go look at Maholo’s fantastic 60-second summary of the keynote), I’m left feeling a little annoyed.

Maybe the feeling will pass, but the implication is that you need a Time Capsule in order to do over-the-air backups using Time Machine. When Leopard came out I got myself an Airport Extreme… currently I plug a USB disk into the side of the Macbook in the evenings, but it would be far neater if the machine automatically found an Airport disk and backed up to that (in a supported manner).

So the question is, have Apple killed the “backup to an Airport disk” feature originally touted for Leopard in order to sell Time Capsules, or will they now release some kind of Time Machine and/or Airport Extreme update to support the use of disks attached to AE base stations…