Saturday, 06 May 2017 09:55

How to set up an external drive as a Time Machine destination for multiple Macs Featured

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Ed Bernard has all the right pieces, but wasn’t able to find a straightforward explanation for backing up his three Macs to a single external drive that he’s attached to one of them. Here’s how to do that.

First, Attach the hard drive to the Mac you want to act as the Time Machine “hub.” This should be a desktop machine and, preferably, one that’s connected via ethernet to your home network. Wi-Fi will work, but the amount of backup data passing over even the latest, fastest Wi-Fi flavor may bog down other simultaneous network activity.

Even if only your Time Machine destination Mac connects to a base station via ethernet, that still halves the amount of backup data that passes over Wi-Fi—it’s transmitted from a Mac to the base station over Wi-Fi, and then from the base station via ethernet to the destination Mac.

Second, make sure your external volume has been formatted ideally for Time Machine. I wrote a column earlier this year that explains the formatting issues for local and networked volumes.

Now, set up Time Machine to use this external drive.


Mount the Time Machine volume in the Finder.

Next, you need to make sure this Mac has file sharing enabled.

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SPEEDEE spends his day searching the internet for the information you need to better use your Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch and all else Apple.

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