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MacinMan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
766
367
Daytona Beach, FL
Hey guys,
I have a really strange issue (at least for me) with Time Machine after upgrading to Monterey.

Normally, a new complete backup takes between 3 to 5 hours for me using a 4TB USB 3, my Passport drive as the time machine drive.
After upgrading to macOS Monterey, the system is very stable, and very responsive, no crashes, or other strange behavior, other than time machine taking forever now. For example I started with an existing backup carried over from Big Sur, and the time just kept fluctuating up and down, and it never seemed to finish. So, since the system is Stable, I decided to erase the time machine drive, and start fresh. The backup I started yesterday morning, is still not done, and shows 23% done.

As mentioned, it would have been done by now in past versions with some incremental backups as well.

Did apple change how Time machine works, or did they break it? I've considered in the past using a more reliable backup solution as this isn't my first time having TM issues, but for the most part, it's just worked.

Also wanted to mention that I did look at activity monitor, and nothing seems out of control. So, if someone could please offer some insight on why TM has slowed down so much. Would appreciate it.

Thanks

FYI: Just thought I would include that I'm working with a Late 2015, 27" iMac here. 32 GB RAM, 2 TB Fusion drive.
directly upgraded from Big Sur 11.6.1 to Monterey 12.0.1, (NO Betas)
 

jive turkey

macrumors 6502
Mar 15, 2008
493
127
I am having Time Machine issues myself. It will run through the backup routine and get all the way to the cleaning up process, then throw up a generic "an error has occurred" message and informing me that the backup couldn't be completed.
 
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MacinMan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
766
367
Daytona Beach, FL
I am having Time Machine issues myself. It will run through the backup routine and get all the way to the cleaning up process, then throw up a generic "an error has occurred" message and informing me that the backup couldn't be completed.
Do you know if there is a way to set Time Machine back to factory defaults? e.g. if maybe the upgrade from Big Sur to Monterey left some bad settings? I wouldn't expect that to be the problem though, since regarding the OS version, TM was something, I could typically setup and forget, unless there were problems. I have a copy of Carbon Copy Cloner, and the newly released SuperDuper 3.5 update: so I have alternatives if TM proves to be completely unreliable again.
 

jive turkey

macrumors 6502
Mar 15, 2008
493
127
Do you know if there is a way to set Time Machine back to factory defaults? e.g. if maybe the upgrade from Big Sur to Monterey left some bad settings? I wouldn't expect that to be the problem though, since regarding the OS version, TM was something, I could typically setup and forget, unless there were problems. I have a copy of Carbon Copy Cloner, and the newly released SuperDuper 3.5 update: so I have alternatives if TM proves to be completely unreliable again.
I don't know how to go about resetting Time Machine. I am going to research solutions when I have time later. I might just reformat my backup drive and see if it will start fresh. But even though I almost never have to use Time Machine, I'm sure if I do wipe the drive something will happen to make me wish I hadn't. ?
 

chabig

macrumors G4
Sep 6, 2002
10,012
7,387
1) You should expect the first backup after an update to be slow.

2) By erasing and starting over, you should expect the first backup to take some time. I wouldn't be surprised if it took a few days even.
 

MacinMan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
766
367
Daytona Beach, FL
1) You should expect the first backup after an update to be slow.

2) By erasing and starting over, you should expect the first backup to take some time. I wouldn't be surprised if it took a few days even.
I was surprised, because fresh backups on a newly prepared drive typically only take 3 to 5 hours for me on average. I know this to be true up through Big Sur at least. I'm using a WD MyPassport USB 3, 4TB drive as my backup drive.
Once upgrading to Monterey and even the new OS upgrade was taking more than a Day, and then starting fresh yesterday and it's still not done as of today , now as I'm typing, put up a red flag. I've read people say it could take a while, so I'm not expecting instant. I'm just saying my overall experience has never taken this long, even for a new backup.
 

chabig

macrumors G4
Sep 6, 2002
10,012
7,387
Understood. I still think it's best to leave it alone and be patient. 4GB of data can take a few days to copy from drive to drive, depending on the speed of the connection. Yes. There is a way to reset Time Machine to factory defaults.

1) Turn it off in Systems Preferences
2) Erase you Time Machine drive (format as APFS)
3) Turn on TM in System Preferences
 

MacinMan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
766
367
Daytona Beach, FL
Understood. I still think it's best to leave it alone and be patient. 4GB of data can take a few days to copy from drive to drive, depending on the speed of the connection. Yes. There is a way to reset Time Machine to factory defaults.

1) Turn it off in Systems Preferences
2) Erase you Time Machine drive (format as APFS)
3) Turn on TM in System Preferences
OK, will let it go the rest of the day and see what happens. Also, may also boot into recovery and run first aid on the system drive. It's been a while since I've done that, so it will just make sure something hasn't gone wrong there too.

One more thing, I know TM finally enforces APFS now, is there a way to make it use non encrypted ? I wonder if the encryption is slowing it down, since it's a mechanical HD vs SSD.
 

chabig

macrumors G4
Sep 6, 2002
10,012
7,387
I don't believe Time Machine requires encryption, even on APFS devices. Also, I wouldn't expect encryption to make any difference, as the CPU can encrypt data much faster than it can be transferred to disk, and you aren't seeing any ill effects on performance.
 

MacinMan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
766
367
Daytona Beach, FL
I don't believe Time Machine requires encryption, even on APFS devices. Also, I wouldn't expect encryption to make any difference, as the CPU can encrypt data much faster than it can be transferred to disk, and you aren't seeing any ill effects on performance.
I went ahead and stopped the in process backup from earlier, rebooted into Recovery, and ran first aid, then reset PRAM, and then removed the disk from time machine, turned it off, and erased the disk, then restarted brand new. it's moving at a somewhat decent speed now. I was just curios, would I see much speed increase to get the initial backup done by following this tutorial, and then putting the settings back, once it's done?
 

jkn182

macrumors newbie
Oct 27, 2021
1
1
I've been having the same issue with Monterey! I've got an external 4TB hard drive, and each backup is taking significantly longer than it used to. The first backup after the Monterey update took over 36 hours. Every backup after that has taken anywhere from 40-60 minutes. Even when I kick off two manual backups, one after the other, the second one still takes 40-60 minutes. That shouldn't be the case, since I'm not changing anything between the two. Previously that would have just taken 5-10 minutes at most.

Super frustrating. I don't want to reformat the drive and re-setup Time Machine, since then I'll lose all the data from my previous backups which go back to early 2020.

EDIT: forgot to mention, working with a mid-2015 16" MacBook Pro
 
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MacinMan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
766
367
Daytona Beach, FL
I've been having the same issue with Monterey! I've got an external 4TB hard drive, and each backup is taking significantly longer than it used to. The first backup after the Monterey update took over 36 hours. Every backup after that has taken anywhere from 40-60 minutes. Even when I kick off two manual backups, one after the other, the second one still takes 40-60 minutes. That shouldn't be the case, since I'm not changing anything between the two. Previously that would have just taken 5-10 minutes at most.

Super frustrating. I don't want to reformat the drive and re-setup Time Machine, since then I'll lose all the data from my previous backups which go back to early 2020.

EDIT: forgot to mention, working with a mid-2015 16" MacBook Pro
Thank you for your feedback. I've been wondering if Apple might have changed something in Monterey to make Time machine less demanding on the system, and why it's running slower. I've seen bug reports of Time machine not completing backups during the beta, but not a lot of specific slow reports to Monterey. The only slow time machine reports I've seen, are typically general troubleshooting, and many are quite older reports. As I've mentioned, If I need a quicker solution, I have Carbon Copy Cloner, and SuperDuper.

I seem to have gotten a slight speed increase, with my TM backup, but it's still slower:

What I did was cancel the new backup that was going yesterday
reboot into recovery mode and run first aid on the system drive to make sure nothing was wrong (which there wasn't)
then restarted and reset PRAM.
Also, since I had decided to start with a clean backup, I also toggled Time Machine on and off, and added the disk brand new, and reformatted. Typically this wouldn't have been a big deal because Backups finish for me between 3, and 5 hours.

I could also change my backup practices at some point as well. I don't need the full drive backed up, mainly my home folder, and (maybe Applications) just to make it easier and faster . With Apps from the App store, I just re-download.

Overall, though, I'm really pleased with Monterey out the door, with the exception of Time Machine (which has been known to be a problem randomly in any version of macOS ) things have been quite stable.
 

dmccombs

macrumors 6502
May 13, 2013
307
1,104
Odd... I upgraded to Monterey and I hadn't updated Time Machine for about a month. So I plugged in my external drive and Time Machine did it's backup and I was shocked at how quickly it did the backup compared to normal.

I was surprised to see this thread since my backup went so fast. Maybe I'll plug in the drive again today and see how it goes. These post have me worried now. LOL

This is a big deal for those with the problem. One data point that may help is to know if this is widespread or somewhat isolated instances. This may help determine the cause (i.e. just some types hardware, bad code, etc.)
 

MacinMan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
766
367
Daytona Beach, FL
Odd... I upgraded to Monterey and I hadn't updated Time Machine for about a month. So I plugged in my external drive and Time Machine did it's backup and I was shocked at how quickly it did the backup compared to normal.

I was surprised to see this thread since my backup went so fast. Maybe I'll plug in the drive again today and see how it goes. These post have me worried now. LOL

This is a big deal for those with the problem. One data point that may help is to know if this is widespread or somewhat isolated instances. This may help determine the cause (i.e. just some types hardware, bad code, etc.)
Do you backup to a mechanical drive, or an SSD? That may make a difference too. I typically use mechanical drives for storage because of the cheaper price for capacity. My iMac has a 2 TB fusion drive in, and I've never had a problem with the balance of performance vs capacity.
 
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dmccombs

macrumors 6502
May 13, 2013
307
1,104
OK, I did another Time Machine backup and on my 2020 M1 macbook, and it was much faster than Big Sur. What I notice is that the time to prepare the back is soooo much faster. The actual copying of data starts much sooner. Once the data copy begins, it moves faster than I've ever seen it. The last stage of Cleanup, also seemed faster than before.

I hope this feedback helps a little. It looks like some folks are having drastically slower backups and yet some are seeing quicker backups. Why???
Do you backup to a mechanical drive, or an SSD? That may make a difference too. I typically use mechanical drives for storage because of the cheaper price for capacity. My iMac has a 2 TB fusion drive in, and I've never had a problem with the balance of performance vs capacity.
I use the 2TB version of what you are using for backup, the WD MyPassport USB 3, 2TB drive. I am backing up my 2020 Macbook Pro, so the internal drive is a fast SSD drive.
 

MacinMan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
766
367
Daytona Beach, FL
OK, I did another Time Machine backup and on my 2020 M1 macbook, and it was much faster than Big Sur. What I notice is that the time to prepare the back is soooo much faster. The actual copying of data starts much sooner. Once the data copy begins, it moves faster than I've ever seen it. The last stage of Cleanup, also seemed faster than before.

I hope this feedback helps a little. It looks like some folks are having drastically slower backups and yet some are seeing quicker backups. Why???

I use the 2TB version of what you are using for backup, the WD MyPassport USB 3, 2TB drive. I am backing up my 2020 Macbook Pro, so the internal drive is a fast SSD drive.
Possible that it's optimized for the new hardware, and maybe not so much for the older Macs.l The good thing is, Time machine isn't require, it's just the built in option. Maybe someone with a newer M1 Mac can post if they also have slower experience.
 

MacinMan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
766
367
Daytona Beach, FL
I just read Apple's support page for types of disks compatible with Time Machine. It looks like while Time Machine now, prefers APFS, or APFS encrypted, it's not forced, and HFS+ still works. I might try starting over as HFS+ because I've heard APFS really slows down mechanical drives. The other option is, I still have a working 6th gen AirPort Extreme, so I could try a network backup. So, I'm not out of time machine options yet.
 
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MacinMan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
766
367
Daytona Beach, FL
Hey all, thanks for sticking with me through this troubleshooting. I think I have a solid solution here to increase speed.

For anyone using a mechanical drive for time machine DO NOT enable encryption (UNLESS MANDATORY)
I was still at about almost 30 percent done from yesterday's backup beginning, and I decided to start over and dry something different. I formatted the drive to HFS+, then i closed the notification Time machine pops up for the default setup.
Instead, I went into Time Machine preferences and clicked "select disk"
This turned on Time Machine and set up the drive. This time it was simply set up as case sensitive APFS.
Things are moving along much quicker now. Will still be slower as it's a mechanical vs SSD, but it's more of a reasonable speed now. I started this a little before 11 AM, and it's getting up to close to 7 percent complete.
Will update when it's done and give an estimate of how long it took with the revised settings.
 
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xgman

macrumors 603
Aug 6, 2007
5,511
1,233
Is there any way to convert TM drive to APFS without loosing data in Monterey?
 

MacinMan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
766
367
Daytona Beach, FL
Is there any way to convert TM drive to APFS without loosing data in Monterey?
I just read Apple's support page about an hour ago. To convert between filesystems requires a fresh backup. The only option for conversion without losing data is adding encryption to an unencrypted backup (APFS). Removing encryption erases data and the drive as well. Here is the official link I read from Apple: https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/choose-a-backup-disk-set-encryption-options-mh11421/mac
 
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CTHarrryH

macrumors 68030
Jul 4, 2012
2,815
1,277
My backups seem about as fast but they seem slightly larger. It also tell me how many files have changed.

I suspect, as mentioned above, that the formatting of the drive might make a big difference. Since drives really aren't that expensive these days you might want to get a new drive, make sure it is formatted correctly and do a new backup. The first will take a while since it is backing up all but the reward will be worth the effort. I do this every once in a while and keep the old drive in a different physical location in case issues - at least then I'll have most data.
 

MacinMan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
766
367
Daytona Beach, FL
My backups seem about as fast but they seem slightly larger. It also tell me how many files have changed.

I suspect, as mentioned above, that the formatting of the drive might make a big difference. Since drives really aren't that expensive these days you might want to get a new drive, make sure it is formatted correctly and do a new backup. The first will take a while since it is backing up all but the reward will be worth the effort. I do this every once in a while and keep the old drive in a different physical location in case issues - at least then I'll have most data.
As I mentioned above, I think I sorted out the extra long backup time by removing encryption and just using APFS (case senstive). I'm at almost 30% now and I started at 11AM. The average is between 3 and 5 hours for me, but may be a bit longer as I have a lot of large items to backup. Also I know it's faster now, because when I had accepted Apple's defaults of adding encryption, it wasn't even at 25% by the next day, so this is a LOT better. Because it's a mechanical drive and only 5400rpm, even though it's USB 3, i do expect it to be slower than an SSD, or even 7200rpm drive.
 

MacinMan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
766
367
Daytona Beach, FL
OK guys, here is the conclusion to my story.

After reformatting my drive yesterday morning, and removing encryption. Time machine was started at about 11 AM EDT, on Thursday Oct, 28. The initial backup was completed Today, Oct 29, at 2:08PM EDT. The second backup ran a little after 3 PM EDT, and took between 2 to 5 minutes for the first incremental backup. So looks like Time Machine is working correctly. The total amount of data backed up initially was 889.49 GB. The full capacity of the iMac's Fusion drive is 2.12 TB. So, bottom line, if you use a mechanical drive for backups, DON"T enable encryption, or it will take way too long. Only use encryption if absolutely necessary.
 
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xgman

macrumors 603
Aug 6, 2007
5,511
1,233
New MBP updated to 12.0.1 after setup. Wiped my TM Drive, deleted the plist, formatted to APFS, excluded users/shared folder, no encryption, removed and reset TM, rinse and repeat w/ Appple on the phone too. Ran TM, seems to finish in a reasonable time, but always says No backups and waiting to complete first backup in the menu bar, but shows the next5 scheduled bacup time in the TM setup interface. In finder the TM drive is empty but shows the used space. In Pathfinder it shows a folder in the TM drive named the date.inprogress. It has all the TM current backed up files shown, unlike Finder's blank, even when showing hidden files.. I then ran TM app. It too shows the backup. So I'm not sure if it actually completed the first and subsequent point scheduled backups and is just reporting it didn't finish when I saw it finish to 100%.

And all this reformatting thinking it was ok to wipe the old backups since I would run a fresh one. What a mess. Apple sr level tech support has my case and diag files under review. Clearly some sort of bug/glitch/whatever. So beware!
 
Last edited:

MacinMan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
766
367
Daytona Beach, FL
New MBP updated to 12.0.1 after setup. Wiped my TM Drive, deleted the plist, formatted to APFS, excluded users/shared folder, removed and reset TM, rinse and repeat w/ Appple on the phone too. Ran TM, seems to finish but always says No backups and waiting to complete first backup in the menu bar, but shows the next5 scheduled bacup time in the TM setup interface. In finder the TM drive is empty but shows the used space. In Pathfinder it shows a folder in the TM drive named the date.inprogress. It has all the TM current backed up files shown, unlike Finder's blank, even when showing hidden files.. I then ran TM app. It too shows the backup. So I'm not sure if it actually completed the first and subsequent point scheduled backups and is just reporting it didn't finish when I saw it finish to 100%.

And all this reformatting thinking it was ok to wipe the old backups since I would run a fresh one. What a mess. Apple sr level tech support has my case and diag files under review. Clearly some sort of bug/glitch/whatever. So beware!
Thanks for the reply. After Time Machine finished the initial backup today I got the usual notification about the backup being completed. Checked the drive and there was indeed one backup icon. that was at 2:08PM, now after 5PM, there are now four icons in the drive, so it seems to be functioning normally here after I got done troubleshooting, and started with a fresh HFS+ formatted drive, which time machine then set up as APFS(case-sensitive) Here is a screenshot, showing the drive's current contents.
 

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