Time Machine Disk Through Wifi Router

Discussion in 'macOS' started by steiney, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. steiney macrumors 6502

    Nov 6, 2009
    Hello all,

    I'd like to set up an old 1TB portable hard drive as my time machine disk and connect it to either my current router or a secondary router on a different network to be able to connect to and sync with over the air.

    Is it possible to set up a time machine disk, sync then plug it in to the wifi router via usb and let it run continuously, getting backups every hour or so? If so, does any one else on the network have read/write access to the disk?

    If the above arrangement enables others on the network to have access to the disk, then would it be possible for me to set up a second router purely for the purpose of acting as a connection to the time machine? This router wouldn't need to be plugged into the modem. Would I be able to connect to and use both networks at the same time?

    I hope this all makes sense. I seriously tried googling before posting here but I couldn't seem to find anything that talked about this set up, which makes me think it's probably not possible.

    Any thoughts are appreciated!

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Yes, it is possible to run TM over the network like that. However, the router must have support for Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) to use TM. You can find this in the specs for the router.

    You cannot start the backup with a direct attached USB then afterward move it to the network though, as TM uses two different formats depending on the direct/network attachment method.

    Everybody on the local network will be able to see your disk.

    I don't know if you realized it, but Apple sells a router with a drive built in just fr this purpose called a Time Capsule.
  3. TimothyB macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2008
    If your router doesn't support these features, and Apple's Time Capsule too expensive, there's WD's new My Cloud external network drive.

    It's actually reasonably priced, 2TB for $150, 3TB for $180
    Amazon Link to 2TB

    It's compatible with Time Machine, plugs into your router, offers USB 3.0 port for expanding storage (Can't recall if it supports Printers)

    I bought the 3TB the other day for my rMBP. Was simple to set up and so far so good. Connecting it to my router quickly revealed it on my rMBP with no setup. Shows up as WDMyCloud and 3 folders that kind of act as volumes, one setup for TimeMachine. I wanted to avoid installing any software and luckily you can control it through Safari with a nice interface. You do this by changing settings in Safari to allow bonjour to show up on the bookmarks bar, then go through there and you'll see it. You can turn off the LED, adjust permissions on expanded storage, users, etc. I followed the manual's instructions to enable Time Machine without having to do any special formatting.

    I also plan to make a secondary backup with an online service. Just for extra protection in case of a fire, theft, and so on. I hear Backblaze is good.
  4. steiney thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 6, 2009
    Thanks Guys. I'll check on the AFP abilities of the router.

    I guess I could always encrypt the time machine back up so the actual data can't be viewed by any but me.

    I am aware of the Time Capsule but I'm trying to accomplish the same goal with components I already own.

    Well, I'll do some further experimenting this evening and let you guys know what happened.

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