Coyote2006

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 16, 2006
508
231
Can anyone confirm that mails will be backed-up in Time Machine with Big Sur again (didn't work in Catalina)?

If yes, do the hidden Catalina-backups reappear in Big Sur?
 

gilby101

macrumors 6502a
Mar 17, 2010
723
321
Tasmania
TM of Mail worked for me in Catalina and is being backed up in Big Sur. But it is probably better to reload all Mail from your mail service(s) after a clean install or disaster.

Even if yes, you should not assume much compatibility between Big Sur and Catalina backups. I am keeping TM backups strictly separate on different partitions. Nevertheless Catalina TMs are visible in BS's Finder.
 

Coyote2006

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 16, 2006
508
231
Do you have POP or iMAP accounts? I have iMAP accounts and non of the mails are seen in TM. I've also been confirmed by Apple support that Apple knows this problem (but they have never fixed it)
 

TheGeneralist

macrumors member
May 1, 2020
80
113
Confirm what Coyote2006 says - Catalina is not able to show Mail Backups on TM Frontend, at least within certain use cases. This is one of the numerous bugs which were never fixed during Catalina lifecycle and is confirmed by Apple Support.

Nevertheless, Apple Support was able to give me at least a workaround - although no mail data is shown in the TM Frontend, it is still backend up and can manually be restored by browsing the correct folder in the TM archive.
 
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Coyote2006

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 16, 2006
508
231
Confirm what Coyote2006 says - Catalina is not able to show Mail Backups on TM Frontend, at least within certain use cases. This is one of the numerous bugs which were never fixed during Catalina lifecycle and is confirmed by Apple Support.

Nevertheless, Apple Support was able to give me at least a workaround - although no mail data is shown in the TM Frontend, it is still backend up and can manually be restored by browsing the correct folder in the TM archive.

Would you mind sending me that workaround?
 

TheGeneralist

macrumors member
May 1, 2020
80
113
Glad you found them.👍👍
For all the others interested:
  • go into your Backups.backupdb Folder (Main Folder on Time Machine Backup Device)
  • then into the folder named after your home directory
  • then into the folder mentioning the date you want to restore
  • then into your "Macintosh HD - Data" folder (or similar name)
  • then users/<username>/Library/Mail/V7
  • then browse the cryptic folders contained here, inside you will find several .mbox archive files with your mails
 
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CJ Dorschel

Cancelled
Dec 14, 2019
407
805
Berlin
I can't believe Apple removed the ability to restore individual emails and contacts using Time Machine. I upgraded from Mojave after holding off as I wasn't thrilled with the direction Apple has taken OS X/macOS. I was alarmed to find none of my Mojave backups loaded even after letting my Mac Pro sit for hours and spending a week researching countless online forums for answers. I started a new backup with Catalina and same thing, also with Big Sur. It seems more of a "feature" than a bug. I was able to get a work around for Contacts by selecting all my contacts, exporting them in a VCF file, turning off my iCloud Contacts syncing on my Mac Pro, then importing my contacts from the VCF file thus creating an "On My Mac" section in Contacts, then turning Contacts syncing back on in iCloud settings. I had to manually link each contact on my Mac so each one is noted as "iCloud" and "On My Mac". Having the on my Mac section allows me to restore any accidentally deleted contact.

Seems Apple is pushing for iCloud restoration yet their work arounds restore EVERYTHING and not just an email or contact which defeats one of the great features of Time Machine since its introduction.
 

Neophyte_FL

macrumors newbie
Oct 18, 2020
9
5
Niceville, FL
Glad you found them.👍👍
For all the others interested:
  • go into your Backups.backupdb Folder (Main Folder on Time Machine Backup Device)
  • then into the folder named after your home directory
  • then into the folder mentioning the date you want to restore
  • then into your "Macintosh HD - Data" folder (or similar name)
  • then users/<username>/Library/Mail/V7
  • then browse the cryptic folders contained here, inside you will find several .mbox archive files with your mails
Regrettably, there is no Library visible under my username or any other. Darn--but glad it worked for you and others.
 
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Neophyte_FL

macrumors newbie
Oct 18, 2020
9
5
Niceville, FL
I can't believe Apple removed the ability to restore individual emails and contacts using Time Machine. I upgraded from Mojave after holding off as I wasn't thrilled with the direction Apple has taken OS X/macOS. I was alarmed to find none of my Mojave backups loaded even after letting my Mac Pro sit for hours and spending a week researching countless online forums for answers. I started a new backup with Catalina and same thing, also with Big Sur. It seems more of a "feature" than a bug. I was able to get a work around for Contacts by selecting all my contacts, exporting them in a VCF file, turning off my iCloud Contacts syncing on my Mac Pro, then importing my contacts from the VCF file thus creating an "On My Mac" section in Contacts, then turning Contacts syncing back on in iCloud settings. I had to manually link each contact on my Mac so each one is noted as "iCloud" and "On My Mac". Having the on my Mac section allows me to restore any accidentally deleted contact.

Seems Apple is pushing for iCloud restoration yet their work arounds restore EVERYTHING and not just an email or contact which defeats one of the great features of Time Machine since its introduction.
I've been unable to retrieve individual emails since the day I installed Catalina although I can retrieve documents. Numerous hours with Apple Support and many diagnostic uploads were unsuccessful although some in the Apple Community have offered very technical solutions beyond my expertise. The additional hurdle is BS's move to APFS from the previous HFS+ format in Time Machine. Many unknowns.
 

IowaLynn

Contributor
Feb 22, 2015
2,053
549
Clone. APFS is geared to SSD and those 900MB/sec interfaces, HFS+ for spindle. Recent 10.15.x did allow TimeMachine to use APFS.

CCC's Bombich has some good info on Apple formats.
 

TheGeneralist

macrumors member
May 1, 2020
80
113
Recent 10.15.x did allow TimeMachine to use APFS.
What is your source for that information?
As far as I can judge, APFS support for TM seems to be limited to 11.xx.x Versions, not to recent Catalina versions.
The official Apple support page about that topic (see here) explicitly states "...Time Machine can’t back up to an APFS-formatted disk..." for Catalina.
 

IowaLynn

Contributor
Feb 22, 2015
2,053
549
What is your source for that information?
As far as I can judge, APFS support for TM seems to be limited to 11.xx.x Versions, not to recent Catalina versions.
The official Apple support page about that topic (see here) explicitly states "...Time Machine can’t back up to an APFS-formatted disk..." for Catalina.
I was 100% certain I formatted the drive and did not use HFS+ just to see if 10.15.7 changed anything. Sometimes the last OS version prior to new MacOS will add support in Disk Utility and elsewhere to add support for new features - and read that TimeMachine would finally be able to use APFS.

What I didn't see or realize that TM would "quietly" without warning or asking/telling, convert the new disk from APFS to HFS+. That I read on Mac web site via Google. When I went and looked at the drive now it definitely is HFS+. So my bad.

I'll have a new SSD to test and play with - CCC had some sobering comments:

Frequently asked questions about CCC and macOS 11

CCC will be able to use Apple's APFS volume replication utility ("ASR") to copy the System volume (we field-tested that functionality for the flawed 10.15.5 update). As of the latest Big Sur Beta, however, Apple's APFS replication utility is not working correctly with the Signed System Volume. As a result, ASR-created copies of the System volume are not bootable. We regret that Apple was not able to resolve that before shipping Big Sur, but Apple is aware of this issue and is currently working to resolve it.

Frequently asked questions about CCC and macOS 11
 

TheGeneralist

macrumors member
May 1, 2020
80
113
@IowaLynn: Thank you for clarification.
Indeed CCC's comments don't sound too encouraging regarding the stability of the next macOS iteration. Doubtlessly this won't be the only major issue Apple currently "is aware of and working to resolve it" - hopefully the time until release allows at least to resolve the most significant bangers...
 

CJ Dorschel

Cancelled
Dec 14, 2019
407
805
Berlin
I've been unable to retrieve individual emails since the day I installed Catalina although I can retrieve documents. Numerous hours with Apple Support and many diagnostic uploads were unsuccessful although some in the Apple Community have offered very technical solutions beyond my expertise. The additional hurdle is BS's move to APFS from the previous HFS+ format in Time Machine. Many unknowns.

I gave up. I've filed bug reports and worked with engineers. It seems Apple is less concerned about a major element of their OS since 10.4. I'm considering moving back to Mojave. This would be the first time in almost 20 years I've not used the most recent OS X release.
 

IowaLynn

Contributor
Feb 22, 2015
2,053
549
I gave up. I've filed bug reports and worked with engineers. It seems Apple is less concerned about a major element of their OS since 10.4. I'm considering moving back to Mojave. This would be the first time in almost 20 years I've not used the most recent OS X release.
HFS+ is also old, lots of band aides to hold it together.

They’ve had over a year with APFS. The first year, OS X 10.5 Leopard? TimeMachine had a rough beginning. It still doesn’t have features needed for which there’d be3rd part add-ons normally.

Goes back to iOS-ification of Mac OS X. When 🍎 was flush with $$ and needed extra help with software hurdles, and brought in teams from mobile iOS groups instead of desktop or workstation experience people...

Backup and cloning, “dd” all your developers and testers need recovery tools that can be relied on — and seems there’s a weakness here.
 
@IowaLynn: Thank you for clarification.
Indeed CCC's comments don't sound too encouraging regarding the stability of the next macOS iteration. Doubtlessly this won't be the only major issue Apple currently "is aware of and working to resolve it" - hopefully the time until release allows at least to resolve the most significant bangers...
Yeah, I am not very encouraged by Big Sur either. I use SuperDuper!, and I suspect they are having similar issues like CCC. But I have always said that 1) it is imperative for all my third party applications to be compatible with the new macOS before I move to it, and 2) Tech Tool Pro will, most likely, not have a compatible version until January. By that time, OS 11.3 or 11.4 should be out, with most things fixed. At least that's my hope.

At least Catalina is working fine for me, and thus no real need to rush a move/upgrade to Big Sur.
 

TheGeneralist

macrumors member
May 1, 2020
80
113
@honestone33: Yeah, waiting until at least .3 or .4 seems like a promising strategy. Think I will do the same for iOS and its offsprings. Although on the macOS side, waiting until 10.15.5 on the previous cycle also didn't help much...
Concerning Catalina, well, I'd say I'm getting used to its daily load of bugs and annoyances. For me it's somewhat similar to the Windows 10 Installation on my working laptop - far from being perfect, but of course you can work with it...somehow.
 
@honestone33: Yeah, waiting until at least .3 or .4 seems like a promising strategy. Think I will do the same for iOS and its offsprings. Although on the macOS side, waiting until 10.15.5 on the previous cycle also didn't help much...
Concerning Catalina, well, I'd say I'm getting used to its daily load of bugs and annoyances. For me it's somewhat similar to the Windows 10 Installation on my working laptop - far from being perfect, but of course you can work with it...somehow.
I am having no issues at all with Catalina. Maybe it's due to the fact that I only use third party software (and of course keep each such program up to date), along with my frequent cleaning tasks, and my weekly cleaning, maintenance, and backup tasks.

As for waiting for the .3 or .4 release, I have always done that with each release of recent versions of the mac OS. Again, the primary reason is that Tech Tool Pro typically does not hav e a compatible version ready until the November-January time frame. It was January for Catalina, and it might be as late as February for Big Sur, especially since Big Sur has yet to be released. But "No Problemo":
, as I have yet to see anything earth shattering that I must have in Big Sur (same thing was true for just about every version of the mac OS).
 
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steffi

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2003
828
4
Time Machine was backing up email it just that in Catalina it didn't allow you to navigate the time line in Time Machine on a Mailbox.

From what I've seen so far in Big Sur that's fixed in that it does let you navigate the timeline.
 

Neophyte_FL

macrumors newbie
Oct 18, 2020
9
5
Niceville, FL
Time Machine was backing up email it just that in Catalina it didn't allow you to navigate the time line in Time Machine on a Mailbox.

From what I've seen so far in Big Sur that's fixed in that it does let you navigate the timeline.
This is my biggest (and emotional) issue with Catalina, so would you please confirm you've actually retrieved an email saved via Catalina and recovered it via Big Sur TM? How does Big Sur's TM APFS format play with previous backups in HFS+? Do you have an option on which format? Does it automatically start a new backup in APFS? I'd really appreciate some clarity before I jump into Big Sur.
 

steffi

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2003
828
4
From what I can tell new back-ups are required to be APFS but it will continue to use existing HFS+ backups.

I've not tried to restore anything just proved that it could Navigate the timeline which is more than what Catalina was capable of doing.
 

Neophyte_FL

macrumors newbie
Oct 18, 2020
9
5
Niceville, FL
From what I can tell new back-ups are required to be APFS but it will continue to use existing HFS+ backups.

I've not tried to restore anything just proved that it could Navigate the timeline which is more than what Catalina was capable of doing.
Good info. Thanks. I could navigate the timeline which would pop up after a long pause but wouldn't go farther when I clicked on a past date. Let me know the results if you attempt to retrieve a past email. I really miss that capability and it's been very helpful when needed.
 
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