Is Time Machine and Encryption usable?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by gpspad, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. gpspad macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    #1
    I have been going back and forth over encrypting my time capsule backups. It took hours over ethernet to back up multiple macs to two time machines I have going, and a recent restoration of a mac took hours.

    I have been thinking i need to encrypt the backups, but worried things will even be slower. Anyone have experience with this?

    Encrypted or not encrypted?

    Does enabling file vault2 screw anything up?
     
  2. Weaselboy, Feb 7, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017

    Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #2
    After the initial encryption is done, backups to an encrypted Time Machine disk are not noticeably slower. To me it makes no sense to encrypt your internal drive with FileVault and not encrypt the backup disk with the same protection.

    Having FileVault on or off either way has no impact on Time Machine encryption.
     
  3. chabig macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    #3
    Good backup practice would have you rotating at least two external Time Machine disks, keeping one offsite at all times. Having them encrypted makes sense.
     
  4. gpspad thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 4, 2014
    #4
    The thing is for now my time machines are time capsules and its automated, not portable hard drives. I have two time capsules 1 & 2, that rotate backups at home. When a deal comes along I'll have a 3rd backup off site, probably using CCC and a USB3 drive. But thats a another learning curve as I have 6 macs, and don't want to drag 6 drives back and forth.

    I haven't been using file vault yet, as I have concerns about giving up the pubic directories I use a lot to transfer files between computers, and I like the ability to transfer large files with one machine in target mode.I haven't gotten a chance yet to try file vault on a lap top to see what i loose.

    Even with ethernet its like 4hrs per 1Tb or so to back up fresh, any guess on how much a fresh back up would take encrypted?

    I also have a concern about an encrypted backup not working when i need it.
     
  5. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #5
    I would be surprised if you noticed at all with encryption on using a Time Capsule. The drive and speeds on those are horrible to begin with and you won't notice the small difference with encryption turned on. I used encryption with a TC I had up until a few months ago when I updated my router and never had any issue with it.

    When you use encryption with a TC, it does not encrypt the disk like it does when you use Time Machine encryption with a locally attached drive. With a locally attached drive it actually converts the volume to a different and encrypted format altogether. With a networked, encrypted backup like the TC, the drive format is not changed. What it does is create an encrypted sparse bundle image (think of it like sort of a fancy ZIP file) then puts the backup inside that encrypted disk image.

    I have not experienced or read about others experienced reduced Time Machine reliability due to encryption.
     
  6. gpspad thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    #6
    Thanks, that makes it more likely I'd go that route.

    Setting encryption does require you erase the old backup, so I'd be starting over again. Not a bad thing, but I think I may wait until Im all set to have an unencrypted CCC drive off site, before I chance it.

    I think I remember seeing something about people having problems recovering from encrypted TM backups. I guess I have more research to do. Ill was until I have an offsite backup just in case.
     
  7. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    Location:
    California
    #7
    Yes, I should have mentioned this is the case with a networked backup and not a locally attached TM backup.
     

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