I am trying to setup up TimeMachine to a network attached storage (NAS) drive. My setup is successful, but like many others with an APFS partition (instead of HFS+), TimeMachine never completes the first backup and just fills the backup location.

What is the solution here? It seems like APFS doesn't play well with TimeMachine, and Apple has been reluctant to acknowledge it. Essentially, there is no good incremental backup solution that is amenable to secondary backup in the cloud without resorting to a 3rd party solution (which is undesirable to many for myriad reasons) because TimeMachine is broken on APFS SSDs. I've caught chatter about excluding directories and files, but I haven't always been able to locate those files in the Finder window that TimeMachine brings up because Apple likes to hide files and directories in its GUI browser, even though they show up find on the command line.

Please help! I am looking for assistance from the crowd or anyone at Apple who can admit there is a problem here that bears a response. I am not interested in attaching an external HDD to my laptop everyday since A) that requires parking the computer next to a drive (no longer portable) and B) requires the use of a dongle since pretty much every external HDD has a USB-A connector, requiring conversion to USB-C (and is oftentimes a flimsy and easily broken connection).

  • Are you saying that your NAS is APFS? Time Machine can backup from APFS but not TO it, because it doesn’t support hard linking. – Tetsujin Feb 25 at 18:09
  • The NAS is not APFS, the SSD in my MacBook is. – patarroyo Feb 25 at 19:37
  • …try Carbon Copy Cloner, it’ll make an identical clone (which saved my computer today, coincidentally) – Sam Feb 26 at 1:55
  • I don't have a problem making an image or clone of the disk. I use Acronis True Image for that. The problem is that ATI makes a containerfile that holds incremental backups, so backing that up to the cloud is a non-starter. I'd prefer Time Machine because it records incremental changes, which is a lighter load for upload to the cloud backup of my choosing (think a few 100 MB or several GB vs 100s of GB) on a daily basis. – patarroyo Feb 26 at 22:21

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