Moving from a central iMac to MacBooks...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by nathanbal, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. nathanbal macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2007
    ... and need HELP!

    Can't work out how to replicate / change some of my processes. Assuming that the 2-3 macbooks will be mobile and not stationary, I need some advice on how to do the following:

    1. Music / TV / movie purchases, ripped DVDs, are all stored on the iMac so that I can sync with the iPhone / iPad and for streaming to an Apple TV. If I don't have a dedicated Mac, how can I share the content amongst my devices and ensure the Apple TVs can stream (has to work for music, TV and movies)?
    2. Time Machine backs up everything on the iMac. My biggest concern is photos. I have a lot of them and want to make sure they get backed up. How can I back up the Macbook (that has my photos) without constantly having to connect an external drive? Does Time Machine work over WiFi to an Airport Extreme?

    Any suggestions for how I can get a similar setup but without a stationary PC?

  2. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I am also interested in answers to the same situation. I have a central iMac and was recently thinking of changing to a laptop but ran into the same questions. Others on this forum basically talked me out of the move for now but I am still interested if possible. My biggest concern is ripping movies and putting them into iTunes, and what will serve as my iTunes server for :apple:TV. Everybody's suggestion was to get a Mac Mini to run headless and act as the main iTunes repository and server, and also for ripping/converting/storing into iTunes. This is very awkward compared to what I have now, and still leaves the question of how do I sync iPhones and iPads? The best solution it seems is to sync them to the Mini, but this is not very convenient. It seems the best solution would be to keep the iMac where it is for ripping/converting/iTunes duties, and to add a laptop to connect wirelessly to the network, but this was not the answer I was looking for.
  3. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    You can share the libraries over the network, meaning you'll see the others' libraries in your own iTunes library as something like an external drive. You can also set up Home Sharing on all the devices. It's a bit trickier if you want to actually sync your iDevices with several computers.

    Yes, it does. Although Apple says it doesn't, so there is no saying what will happen in the future. But you can use Carbon Copy Cleaner the exact same way though, so no worries there :)
  4. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    You are going to need some sort of device to act as a server if you want access to your music and video libraries on the ATV. There are NAS devices that can serve as an iTunes music server, but not for video. They can also act as a network backup location for Time Machine, but there is often a period after an OS release where you are left waiting for a firmware update from the manufacturer.

    I think the option of a headless Mac mini as a server is a good one. It will make content access for the ATV seamless, it can act as the sync point for your iDevices (they can sync over wifi), and you can connect an external drive that you then share on the network for Time Machine backups over wifi. (I'd recommend partitioning the drive so each computer being backed up has its own Time Machine partition).

    There are other ways to do this, but using the Mac as the server makes everything just fall into place. I recently retired my NAS that had served me faithfully for over 5 years because I had come to realize over time that my iMac made a better media server.

    See above. A Mac Mini or keeping your iMac as your media server is probably your best bet. In order to serve movies to the ATV, you have to have a Mac running somewhere.
  5. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Well technically you only need an iTunes server somewhere, whether it be a Mac or Windows, but I get your point. However I (and many others) have had issues with Screen Sharing since Lion came out so that the idea of a headless Mac is not always feasible. I understand however that an iPad works well for control even when another Mac cannot screen share properly.
  6. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I've got multiple Macs (portable and stationary) and iOS devices here and use a Mac mini server. While mine has been running 2.5 years with Snow Leopard Server, any mini with the Server app will do. It will run "headless" (no monitor, keyboard, or mouse) and you access it remotely. You can attach external drives to increase capacity (I'm over 5 TB now). Easily fits on a shelf or in a closet, but should have a hardwired Ethernet connection to your router and wireless access point (also a good closet candidate).

    This works fine as an iTunes server, although I don't use it that way -- I use Plex. Also handles multi-system TimeMachine backups and acts as a central file storage that easily allows sharing among computers. Does Calendar/Contact syncing as well if you want to keep this off of iCloud. Mine does many other functions as well -- since it is a computer rather than a specialized NAS it has considerable flexibility.


    (Drive "toaster" is for server backup drives.)
  7. nathanbal thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2007
    thanks very much all. i actually have an older C2D mac mini sitting idle in a cupboard somewhere so may look into that as an option. although setting my current iMac up somewhere out of the way might also be a far easier option!

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