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Mojave Time Machine Backups Not Fully Loading after Catalina Update

CJ Dorschel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 14, 2019
Recently upgraded my Mac Pro from Mojave to Catalina two weeks ago after holding off for various reasons. I have always used Time Machine for all my Mac's and am very familiar with the inner workings. With this setup, I have a 2013 Mac Pro connected to a Thunderbolt 2 array only used for external storage of 4x WD Red and Red Pro HDD's. Been doing this since switching some of my former Mac Pro5,1's to the Mac Pro 6,1 in order to hold the internal HDD's. Time Machine is running on a 10TB HDD and has been backing up without issue since the update.

That stated, after upgrading to the current 10.15.6 from 10.14.x, Time Machine backups have changed and I've experienced a few issues (spent a few days researching online and found a lot of people experiencing similar problems). I can access Finder using Time Machine and recover files, etc. yet if I open Contacts then Time Machine, none of my Mojave backups load. I see the dates on the right hand side yet clicking on them shows nothing inside Contacts to recover. Only the backups done with Catalina show Contacts that can be recovered and sometimes even those don't load immediately. I need to recover only a few contacts that I lost and not the entire archive.

Apple did change the backup file from sparsebundle to backupdb in Catalina and a few were able to resolve some of their issues by renaming the backup folder to .sparsebundle. Others found opening Time Machine and letting the UI sit for 10-15 minutes loaded a lot of Mojave backup restore points. Yet opening Mail, Contacts, etc, then Time Machine does not load their restore point data - no matter how long I leave Time Machine open on Contacts, Mail, etc. It simply doesn't show Mojave data when trying to restore lost data with specific core apps.

I can use Finder outside of the Time Machine UI and dig into a restore point folder and locate the Address Book info (ex /Users/homefolder/Library/Application Support/AddressBook/Sources/folder/Metadata). Each contact has its own card with a .abcdp extension. Normally I can Quicklook each to find the Contact I need to reload. However, now if I Quicklook a contact it loads the information for 2-3 then stops for the rest so manually restoring a lost Contact doesn't work either.

I cannot restore any contacts or emails, etc from my Mojave backups using Time Machine and I cannot locate the contact manually by searching through the metadata files as I have been able to do for years.

Seems this is a major issue for a lot of people. System Preferences shows my Time Machine backups and excluded folders/drives properly and I have received no error messages with any backups.

Essentially, using Time Machine to restore anything from my Mojave backups doesn't work. My next step is to phone Apple Support but they're hold times are insane right now and hoping online research and/or help from anyone might be my best option.



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