I just got a new logic board installed on my Macbook Air (running OS X 10.9.4). Before the repair, I used a time capsule for backup (which has plenty of storage left). When my newly repaired MBA came home from the shop and tried to complete a time machine backup to the capsule, a message popped up that asked if I wanted to restore my previous backups. I selected that option, but it did not complete the backup and now I get an error message that says, "time machine cannot complete the backup because the disk is read only". I performed some simple troubleshooting (i.e., turned time machine off and unplugged the capsule), but no luck.

I read on the Apple support page that I should try mounting the time capsule to my desktop and ejecting it from disk utility. If "mount" means connect, I cannot do that because it usually connects wirelessly and is not showing up in disk utility. (I don't know if it is relevant, but I use the time capsule for wireless internet, and it works just fine.)

Can anyone explain to me (in the simplest, non-jargony terms possible) how I might troubleshoot this problem? I appreciate your help!


1 Answer 1


Read only is a fail safe mode for the backups. It means there was a problem detected with the backup and you can only restore from it.

The system won't continue adding files since that would risk your losing even the ability to recover the files.

There is a procedure to re-attach a Mac to the existing backup once logic boards are replaced, but they assume that there isn't a failure of the backup at the same time.

You should have support from the people who replaced the logic board to help make sure you aren't just missing the steps to re-establish a backup, but if the backup were mine, I'd try backing up to a blank new USB drive and get a good backup now and then troubleshoot the Time Capsule to remedy the error causing the read-only status without risking your only backup. (Since the troubleshooting is to use Disk Utility to repair or erase the Time Capsule and then start over with an initial backup).

  • Sorry, I up-voted this answer because I found it useful, but it does not answer the question. I can't cancel the vote, so I voted it down. Could you please expand on this answer with specific details?
    – derelict
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 14:52
  • @SoilSciGuy Thanks for the thoughts. What specific details are needed? Feel free to ask a new question explaining what you don't understand or want to have explained and link here. I'll do my best to satisfy your question or let you know if I don't know. I don't want to add too much jargon per the request.
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 2:25
  • @bmike, thanks for the suggestion and for using laymen's terms. The Apple store sent my computer to a depot to be repaired, and they have not been helpful. I backed everything up to a separate hard drive, as you suggested. None of my files, etc., were erased when my logic board was replaced, so even if I have to erase the time capsule, it would be OK. Can you (or anyone else) point me to any user-friendly, non-jargony solutions for fixing the read-only problem? The only instructions I have been able to find are similar to the Apple support instructions that I described in my initial question.
    – Jfer
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 13:00
  • @Jfer Sorry for the late reply. If you pay for a repair, you get 90 days of AppleCare and phone/web/store assistance on reloading the data and getting it back working. Why not avail yourself of that help for this if jargon takes too long to learn?
    – bmike
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 18:24

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