I have a Time Machine backup on an Airport Time Capsule (name: computername.sparsebundle). Now I want to access that backup on a USB disk formatted as exFAT.

Several online resources describe the migration to a Time Capsule. My question relates to the opposite migration, away from the Time Capsule.

Is this possible? If so, how can I migrate this backup from the Airport Time Capsule (sparsebundle) to a USB disk formatted as exFAT?

  • Not sure this will work as Time Machine requires HFS+. Feb 1, 2021 at 14:12
  • You can run Time Machine on "unsupported" file systems. The steps involved, include the creation of a sparsebundle with Disk Utility and then some command-line magic. See for instance mybyways.com/blog/using-an-exfat-drive-for-time-machine-backups Feb 1, 2021 at 14:14
  • Time Machine doesn't require HFS+ – but it does require one of HFS+ or APFS
    – Ezekiel
    Feb 1, 2021 at 14:22

1 Answer 1


As the comments say you migrating time machine backup to exFAT is a relatively long thing to do. However, if you want to just access the files from a exFAT formatted drive you can simply copy those files to that drive. Though this is not a great solution.

If it's possible try other options. Do not limit yourself to use exFAT.

  • I decided to create a sparseimage disk image on the external exFAT disk. I'm now copying the latest backup from the Time Capsule to that sparse image disk image. Sadly the connection (mounted sparsebundle) with the Time Capsule drops frequently. Feb 2, 2021 at 11:47

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