I've been hunting for the answer to this, but I have not found it. When I back up my laptop using Time Machine to a remote Time Machine server (Time Capsule, or Mac Mini with an external drive), is the data on the network encrypted?

Note that I don't care about the encryption of the data on the hard drives at either end, just about the ethernet/wifi in the middle.

  • Is there any workaround for this? Maybe VPN or SSH tunnel? I really want to use Time Machine backups over a network but don't want the data transferred unencrypted. Would FileVault2 work? Not sure I want to use FileVault because of the added CPU overhead, but would at least like to know if would work.
    – user90575
    Sep 13 '14 at 16:08
  • FileVault has nothing to do with AFP. It can be used to encrypt a drive locally (perhaps even the AFP-shared disk), but AFP still does what it does, unencrypted. I personally use a VPN for this kind of thing. The problem with an SSH tunnel is you'd have to convince Time Machine to backup to localhost, which doesn't seem to be possible. Apple makes stable software, but often not very flexible software. The only thing to keep in mind is that you need to refer to the NAS or computer by IP, not by name, because zero-conf (known colloquially as Bonjour) won't traverse most types of VPN. Jan 7 '16 at 4:47

Short answer, no it's not. As with most of the file transfer protocols(SMB, FTP, NFS) it transfers data in plain text.


If the WiFi has encryption, it is encrypted over-the-air.

However, wired ethernet is not encrypted or protected in any way.


Your password for authentication may be encrypted depending on what you are authenticating to, but the AFP transfer is not encrypted.


Encrypt the data before it's sent over the wire: https://support.apple.com/kb/ph25615?locale=en_US

  • How do you do this?
    – mmmmmm
    Aug 4 '18 at 9:46
  • Welcome to Ask Different! While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 4 '18 at 9:53

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