I have a MacBook Pro 2017 that was sent for replacement. The system was always synced with Time Machine.

I have a temporary MacBook Pro 2017 I am trying to restore to, but I can't get it to work.

The Time Machine backup is on a NAS partition (Synology DS216).

The path from the NAS' perspective is:


The path from Finder's perspective is:


I reboot the computer to macOS Recovery, it finds the NAS, I can connect to the partition providing the username / password, and then nothing happens from there. It stays on the same screen.

enter image description here

It is the same behavior whether I try to use the auto detected path, the NAS' path, or the path Finder creates.

No backup appears.

When I connected with the original Mac, through Time Machine, I can see the files, the history, etc. so the files are there.

Now I have two questions:

  • Is there such a thing as a 'machine backup' vs. 'just some folders backup'? I had a lot of folders exclusion in my Time Machine settings, so maybe the files are there but not the OS.

  • If I connect to this backup through Time Machine, instead of the system restore/migration, is there a way to connect as read-only so the temporary computer will not start to edit the backup?

As a side note, the backup is from macOS Catalina (on a MacBook Pro 2017 15") and the temp laptop is running macOS High Sierra (on a MacBook Pro 2017 13"), if that makes a difference.

  • Is there a reason you can't/won't update the temp laptop to Catalina? – IconDaemon Feb 17 at 15:00
  • I’m doing the update right now. I assumed, maybe wrongly, that for a restore the OS version wouldn’t matter – Thomas Feb 17 at 15:01
  • I believe your problem is that TimeMachine cannot recognize the files/backup, as they are too new – Matthew Barclay Feb 18 at 1:52
  • 1
    This is confirmed: the version of the operating system DOES matter. This was solved by updating the temp laptop to Catalina. – Thomas Feb 18 at 10:47

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