How to Backup to a Synology NAS with Time Machine

  • Post author:WunderTech
  • Post published:August 5, 2022
  • Post last modified:November 14, 2023
  • Post category:Synology
  • Reading time:9 mins read

In this article, we’re going to look at how to backup to a Synology NAS with Time Machine with the most recent macOS (Monterey).

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 Synology NAS.

A Synology NAS is a great device for Time Machine backups, as well as various other things. One of the main benefits of using a Synology NAS is that 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 Backup to a Synology NAS with Time Machine

Before configuring our Mac, we need to change a few settings on our Synology NAS. First, we need to enable the Bonjour Time Machine Broadcast for SMB on our NAS, ensure that one of our user accounts has access to the shared folder, then set a shared folder quota.

1. Create a Shared Folder where you’d like to store the Time Machine backups.

2. Inside of the Control Panel, select Shared Folder, then Edit on the shared folder you’ll be using for Time Machine.

editing the shared folder you'll be using for the time machine backup.

3. Select Advanced, then Enable Shared Folder Quota. Set a quota (preferably, at least two times larger than your Mac’s hard drive size, though this can be more/less depending on your needs), then Save. This will ensure that Time Machine doesn’t utilize all of the free space on your NAS and will stop once the quota is met.

setting a quota for the shared folder.

4. Select File Services in the Control Panel, then Advanced, then Enable Bonjour Time Machine broadcast via SMB.

How to Backup to a Synology NAS with Time Machine - ensuring that the bonjour time machine service is enabled for SMB.

5. Select Set Time Machine Folders, then check the folder where you’d like the Time Machine application to back up to on your Synology NAS.

setting the time machine folder to use for the backups.

How to Configure Time Machine on a Mac

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

MacOS system preferences tab and time machine.

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 Synology NAS’s folder as the destination (in my case, backups), 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 backups location and enabling the encrypt option.

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 DSM user, so you must ensure that the user you’re connecting with has permission to the folder selected above.

logging in with a dsm user and password.

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

viewing the progress of a time machine backup.

How to Restore Files with Time Machine

Now that Time Machine has been set up on our Synology NAS, 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 the launchpad in macos.

2. Search for Time Machine and launch the application.

searching for time machine and opening the application.

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 to restore any folders/files if necessary.

right-clicking a file and restoring it in time machine.

Conclusion & Final Thoughts

In this tutorial, we looked at how to backup to a Synology NAS with Time Machine. Time Machine on macOS is slightly finicky, but the process isn’t too complicated after configuring the Synology NAS. Just make sure that you set a quota 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 backup to a Synology NAS with Time Machine. If you have any questions on how to backup to a Synology NAS with Time Machine, please leave them in the comments!


Frank is an IT professional with 13+ years experience and the creator of WunderTech. He focuses on sharing his experience with others on computer hardware, servers, software, networking, and self-hosted apps. He has a BS in Computer Information Systems and an MBA. Learn more about Frank in his bio.