How to Back up to TrueNAS with Time Machine

  • Post author:WunderTech
  • Post published:July 8, 2023
  • Post last modified:May 10, 2024
  • Post category:TrueNAS
  • Reading time:12 mins read

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In this article, we’re going to look at how to back up to TrueNAS with Time Machine, using the most recent macOS.

Time Machine allows you to back up the local files on your Mac to a separate device like a hard drive or NAS. The process that we will follow utilizes SMB and allows you to back up your Mac using the latest OS to a TrueNAS server.

TrueNAS is a great device for Time Machine backups, as well as various other things. One of the main benefits of using a NAS is the data will stay on your local network and you’ll control everything. It also avoids any cloud storage expenses, though it’s important to keep in mind that for extremely important data, you should be following the 3-2-1 backup rule.

How to Back up to TrueNAS with Time Machine

We will look at how to back up to TrueNAS with Time Machine below, utilizing TrueNAS Scale. A few important prerequisites first. Before you configure Time Machine backups for TrueNAS, you must fulfill these requirements:

  • TrueNAS Core or Scale and a storage pool must be configured.
  • A dataset must exist (or you must create a new one, shown below) where the time machine backups should be stored. We will utilize an SMB share to configure the Time Machine backup.

Step 1: Configure a New Dataset for Time Machine Backups

If you don’t already have a dataset in TrueNAS where you’d like your Time Machine backups to exist, create one by following the steps below.

1. Log in to TrueNAS, then select Dataset and then Add Dataset.

truenas datasets

2. Create a Name, then modify any of the Dataset settings you’d like, and Save.

creating a time machine dataset in truenas.

3. If you’d like to alter the permissions for this dataset, you can do that by going to the ACL Manager.

Step 2: Configuring a Quota

By default, Time Machine will use all available space on a NAS. This isn’t ideal if you’re using Time Machine, as it can take up all the space on your NAS. To limit this size, we must set a dataset quota.

1. Select Dataset, then highlight the Dataset and select Edit under Dataset Space Management.

configuring a quota for the time machine backup.

2. Set the quota (default is in MB, so every 1,000 will be equal to 1GB. 1,000,000 = 1TB) then Save. You can also set up custom warnings if you’d like.

quota settings.

Step 3: Create an SMB Share to Access the Shared Folder

Now that the dataset has been created, we must create an SMB Share that will be used to access with Time Machine.

1. Select Shares, then Add.

shared folder settings.

2. In the Path section, select the Time Machine folder that you created above. In the Purpose section, ensure that Multi-user Time Machine is selected.

how to back up to truenas with time machine.

3. Select Save, and you will receive a prompt to restart the SMB service. Select Restart Service.

restarting the smb service.

The correct folder configuration is now complete on the TrueNAS side and you can connect to the folder using Time Machine.

Step 3: Configuring Time Machine in macOS

Now that TrueNAS is configured, we’re going to connect our Mac to Time Machine. Before opening Time Machine, we have to connect to our TrueNAS server. This will allow us to see the Time Machine shared folder that we created inside of Time Machine.

1. On your keyboard, press Command + K to open the Connect to Server window. Enter the IP address of your TrueNAS server, then press Connect.

connecting to the smb share by IP address in macos.

2. Enter the username and password of a TrueNAS user that has access to the dataset, then select connect.

entering a username and password to connect to the share.

3. Select the Time Machine share, then press OK. After you connect, you can close out of the window. We are doing this so that the Time Machine share is accessible from Time Machine. After the window appears, you can close it and move on to the next step.

selecting the correct folder.

4. Navigate to System Preferences, then select Time Machine.

access time machine from the macos system settings.

2. Select Back Up Automatically to ensure that Time Machine is constantly backing up your Mac.

NOTE: If you’d like the Time Machine icon to display in your menu bar, select Show Time Machine in Menu Bar.

selecting the backup disk in time machine.

6. Select your TrueNAS servers folder as the destination (in my case, Time Machine at the IP address, then select Use Disk.

NOTE: If you’d like to encrypt the backup, you can select Encrypt backups. A password will be required at a later step to encrypt the backup.

selecting the shared folder in macos.

7. You should receive a popup asking you to connect. Select Connect, then at the next step, enter the user and password that you’d like to use to connect to your shared folder. This will be a TrueNAS user, so you must ensure that the user you’re connecting with has permission to the Time Machine folder.

logging in with the account.

8. Your backup will now run! Depending on how large your system is, it will take some time to fully back up from macOS to TrueNAS.

backup progress.

Step 4: Restoring Files with Time Machine

Now that Time Machine has been set up on TrueNAS, we can restore files from it if we ever need to. I am not going to discuss how to restore an entire Mac, however, we’ll look at how to restore individual files below.

1. Open Launch Pad.

opening launchpad in macos.

2. Search for Time Machine and launch the application.

searching for time machine in macos.

3. A window will open up with your backed-up files. You’ll be able to use the slider on the right-hand side to navigate through your past backups and can right-click and restore (or use the restore button at the bottom) to restore any folders/files desired.

restoring a file in time machine.

Conclusion – How to Back up to TrueNAS with Time Machine

In this tutorial, we looked at how to back up to TrueNAS with Time Machine. Time Machine on macOS works really well with TrueNAS and it’s really easy to configure. Just make sure that you set a volume size limit in the shared folder or your backups might take up more space than you initially expected.

Thanks for checking out the tutorial on how to back up to Unraid with Time Machine. If you have any questions on how to back up to Unraid with Time Machine, please leave them in the comments!