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I'd like my Mac to be able to save a Time Machine backup even when I have it in sleep mode. Is there a way I can have my Mac wake up at a certain time automatically in order for Time Machine to run?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can schedule your Mac to wake from sleep or boot at a specific time. Go to System Preferences, then the Energy Saver pane. In there, at the bottom-right, is a "Schedule…" button. Pressing it brings up a sheet where you can set a day and time to wake up and another to go to sleep. If you leave a half-hour or so between the wake up and sleep times, it should have enough time to back up.

I must say, there's not much point in running a Time Machine backup when you haven't been using the computer: if you're not using it, nothing has changed, so there's nothing new to back up. I should also note that if the computer is shut down (like if you're on vacation) it'll boot and then go to sleep if you don't turn the schedule off before you leave.

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Thanks for the quick answer! I regularly put my Mac to sleep when I am done working for the day, but I would like backups to run overnight. – Callie Mar 27 '12 at 22:16
+1, good idea to schedule wake or boot. – JW8 Mar 27 '12 at 22:17

According to Apple Support:

If your computer is in sleep or your backup disk isn’t available when it’s time for a scheduled backup, the backup is not performed. Backups resume after the computer and backup disk are available again.

If your Mac is scheduled to wake from sleep (as noted in @CajunLuke's answer), you'd need to create an Automator script to immediately trigger the Time Machine backup upon waking, or wait an hour or so to catch the hourly TM backup.

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