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How to make secure macOS Time Machine backups from anywhere

Discover how to create remote Time Machine backups for your Mac with Meshnet.

Introduction

Making regular backups of the information on your Mac helps protect your files against accidental deletion or other types of data loss events, such as hardware failure, malware infections, or power surges. Apple’s Time Machine tool that comes pre-installed on Mac devices provides a convenient way to recover your data after these types of incidents. It periodically backs up all the information on your Mac, keeping multiple versions of your files.
To store backups, Time Machine requires a separate storage medium. The advantage of using Meshnet in the context of backup creation is that your storage device can be accessed from anywhere. Meshnet facilitates remote file transfer and ensures secure connectivity between devices, irrespective of where they are located.
This guide describes how you can use another Mac as a Time Machine backup destination and access it over Meshnet for regular backups.

Before you begin

Make sure that:
  • Your backup disk has at least twice the storage capacity of the disk you're backing up with Time Machine. This will provide you with the flexibility to continue backing up your Mac regularly.
  • The other Mac is turned on and has Meshnet enabled whenever you want to back up your data.

Configure a shared folder

To use another Mac on your Meshnet as a backup destination, you need to configure a network share on the other Mac.
macOS Sonoma 14
macOS Ventura 13
macOS Monterey 12 or older
  1. 1.
    Choose the Apple menu
    > System settings > General, and then click Sharing.
  2. 2.
    Turn on File sharing.
    "File sharing" toggle enabled.
  3. 3.
    Click the Info
    button next to File sharing.
  4. 4.
    Click the Add button(+) under Shared folders, and then choose or create a folder to use for Time Machine backups.
  5. 5.
    Control-click the folder you've added and choose Advanced options.
    "Advanced options" are selected in the shortcut menu
  6. 6.
    Select Share as a Time Machine backup destination, and then click OK.
  1. 1.
    Choose the Apple menu
    > System settings.
  2. 2.
    Click General in the sidebar, and then click Sharing on the right.
  3. 3.
    Turn on File sharing.
    "File sharing" toggle turned on.
  4. 4.
    Click the Info
    button next to File sharing.
  5. 5.
    Click the Add button(+) under Shared folders, and then choose or create a folder to use for Time Machine backups.
  6. 6.
    Control-click the folder you've added and choose Advanced options.
    "Advanced options" are selected in the shortcut menu
  7. 7.
    Select Share as a Time Machine backup destination, and then click OK.
  1. 1.
    Choose the Apple menu
    > System preferences.
  2. 2.
    Click Sharing, and then select the File sharing checkbox.
  3. 3.
    Click the Add (+) button under Shared Folders on the right, and then choose or create a folder to use for Time Machine backups.
  4. 4.
    Control-click the folder you've added and choose Advanced options.
    The Advanced options menu item is selected
  5. 5.
    Select Share as a Time Machine backup destination, and then click OK.

Connect to your remote storage location

Once you’ve set up your remote folder, you can access it as a network drive using Meshnet.
  1. 1.
    Copy the device’s Nord name or Meshnet IP address from the NordVPN app.
  2. 2.
    Control-click Finder
    and choose Connect to server.
    The Connect to server option is selected in Finder's shortcut menu
  3. 3.
    In the server address box, enter smb://, paste the Nord name or IP address of the Mac you want to access, and then click Connect.
    The server address is entered
  4. 4.
    Click Connect again to confirm the connection.
  5. 5.
    Enter your username and password for the other Mac.
  6. 6.
    Select the shared folder you configured earlier.
Tip
To make it easier to connect to the remote drive in the future, select Remember this password in my keychain to save your username and password for this connection.

Set up Time Machine and make a backup

After you have connected to your remote storage location, you can set up Time Machine to use it as your backup destination.
macOS Sonoma 14
macOS Ventura 13
macOS Monterey 12 or older
  1. 1.
    Choose the Apple menu
    > System Settings > General, and then click Time Machine.
  2. 2.
    Click Add backup disk and select the folder you configured earlier from the list of available disks.
  3. 3.
    Click Set up disk.
  4. 4.
    Select Registered user, enter your credentials for the remote Mac, and click Connect.
  5. 5.
    If you want Time Machine to encrypt your backup disk, turn on the Encrypt backup toggle and create a password for the backup bundle.
    "Encrypt backup" toggle enabled.
  6. 6.
    Control-click your mounted disk and select Back up now to start your backup immediately.
    Backup is preparing.
Tip
You can click on the Options button to customize the backup frequency.
  1. 1.
    Choose the Apple menu
    > System Settings > General, and then click Time Machine.
  2. 2.
    Click Add backup disk and select the folder you configured earlier from the list of available disks.
  3. 3.
    Click Set up disk.
  4. 4.
    Select Registered user, enter your credentials for the remote Mac, and click Connect.
  5. 5.
    If you want Time Machine to encrypt your backup disk, turn on the Encrypt backup toggle and create a password for the backup bundle.
    The encrypt backup toggle is selected
  6. 6.
    Control-click your mounted disk and select Back up now to start your backup immediately.
    The initial backup is in progress
Tip
You can click on the Options button to customize the backup frequency.
  1. 1.
    Choose the Apple menu
    > System preferences, and then click Time Machine.
  2. 2.
    Click Select backup disk.
  3. 3.
    Select the folder you configured earlier from the list of available disks and click Use disk.
  4. 4.
    If you want Time Machine to encrypt your backup disk, select the Encrypt backups checkbox and create a password for the backup bundle.
  5. 5.
    Select Registered user, enter your credentials for the remote Mac, and click Connect.
  6. 6.
    Control-click your mounted disk and select Back up now to start your backup immediately.
    Time Machine is set up to use the Meshnet device as a backup destination
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