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TimeMachine, Network Backups, and macOS Big Sur and Monterey

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sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Good article on updates that Apple has done for MacOS 11 and 12 - as of Big Sur, TimeMachine can and does by default, use APFS in the SparseBundle image for networked backups...

Note that it will not convert an HFS+ image to an APFS image, to make use of APFS, one does have to start over with the backup.

Good article here describes it...


Hope someone finds this useful

@thiggins - on the main site, there is the TimeMachine article that was created some time back - this info might be good to add there as well...


 
Should also note that with Big Sur and Monterey, use SMB, not AFP to connect to the TimeMachine server.
 
Using the Time Machine option on the router creates an AFP share. I tried setting up SMB, but I couldn't connect at all. Has anyone succeeded in this and could share a detailed how-to? Connecting via AFP is a breeze; however, my Pro backup keeps failing while my partner's Air backup succeeds. Both Macs are brand new.
 
AFP is deprecated, SMB is the future...
I get that, and I'd love to switch. The question is, how? If I use the Time Machine toggle in the web GUI, it uses AFP.
1640561100086.png

I went here and enabled the share, but when I went to Finder it said it couldn't connect. It didn't even ask for a username/password.
1640561266546.png
1640561413887.png
I tried with the router IP, router.asus.com, the router name. I don't know understand how to connect to it.
 
I get that, and I'd love to switch. The question is, how? If I use the Time Machine toggle in the web GUI, it uses AFP.

I suppose talk to Asus, it's their implementation...

I can't fix it, they should, and not depend on a community contribution.

I went here and enabled the share, but when I went to Finder it said it couldn't connect. It didn't even ask for a username/password.

Yep, using AFP is deprecated, as I mentioned - Apple has been pushing this for like better part of 6 years now (since OSX 10.9)

Even on Mac file sharing, if the shared folder is on an APFS volume, it has to be SMB, AFP won't work (it only works with HFS+ on Mac shared folder...

So, yes, Asus needs to fix this...

Synology and QNAP obviously got the message with their NAS boxes...

QTS 4, DSM 6 and later tend to work fine with Macs, for TimeMachine and mounting file shares from the NAS.

I tried with the router IP, router.asus.com, the router name. I don't know understand how to connect to it.

When using SMB as the URI resource, it will attempt to use SMB3...

If you're trying to connect to an older resource, try using CIFS instead, this forces SMB1 for the connection
 
Thanks for the tips. I tried CIFS and it worked, so I decided to see if I could force SMBv2.

I found this Reddit thread, but rather than making the changes to /etc/nsmb.conf, I changed ~/Library/Preferences/nsmb.conf per this thread. I also added the option to skip .DS_Store. I will add that the changes made Google Drive behave a little differently. Those drives used to show up as SMBv1 when I ran
Bash:
smbutil statshares -a
. Now they don't show up there at all, the Favorites linked stopped working, and they are listed as mounted drives instead. They even showed up as options for Time Machine. EDIT: I struck out the portions that weren't necessary. It turns out you just have to wait a bit for the router to settle from disconnects.

That did let me connect via SMB. Once I got that connection, I used a combination of this article and this article to create a sparse bundle disk image. Then I mounted that image using tmutil and I'm currently backing up via SMBv2.

So far, my backup has stopped due to a disconnect here and there, but otherwise, it is much farther along than any AFP Time Machine backup ever went.

EDIT: The SMB disconnects are somewhat random, and my backup hasn't finished as of a couple of days later. So, I used Automator and Script Editor to automatically reconnect the sparse bundle if it gets disconnected. Then I added the script to my login items.

1640700926484.png

AppleScript:
on idle
    set startBackups to 10 -- Start hour for Time Machine Backups
    set endBackups to 19 -- End hour for Time Machine Backups
    set acOnly to do shell script "pmset -g batt | wc -l"
    if acOnly = 1 then return 3600 -- machine does not have a battery end if
    set chargeState to do shell script "pmset -g batt | awk '{printf \"%s %s\\n\", $4,$5;exit}'"
    if (weekday of (current date) is not Sunday) and (weekday of (current date) is not Saturday) then -- only backup on weekdays
        if (hours of (current date) ≥ startBackups) and (hours of (current date) ≤ endBackups) then
            if chargeState = "'AC Power'" then
                tell application "Finder"
                    set isConnected to disk "Time Machine Disk Name" exists
                end tell
                if isConnected = false then
                    try
                        set workflowPath to "/Path/To/Automator/Workflow.workflow"
                        do shell script "automator " & quoted form of workflowPath
                    end try
                end if
            end if
        end if
    end if
    return 3600
end idle

1640701226055.png
 
Last edited:
So far, my backup has stopped due to a disconnect here and there, but otherwise, it is much farther along than any AFP Time Machine backup ever went.

All good stuff in your post.

For the first backup to a new sparsebundle image, I would recommend doing that over the hard wire if possible, follow up backups should be fine over wireless.

Remember in Big Sur and Monterey - if backing up to a legacy image (HFS+), it will continue to use it, and a new image - TimeMachine will format it as APFS, and use the more robust/reliable method of backing up...

One of the ongoing challenges with third-party implementations for TimeMachine on HFS+ images was the 100's of thousands of linked files that would eventually blow the image up when it starts collapsing/consolidating older backups...
 

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