It doesn't always have to be expensive NAS be: Who a Fritz box from AVM can also use the router as a Time Machine drive with a little tinkering. The advantage: You don't need any additional hardware apart from a USB hard drive. The solution can be set up in just a few simple steps.
1a. Prepare external hard drive for Time Machine
First you need an external USB hard drive. This should have at least the capacity that your Mac has. For Macs with smaller data storage devices, an SSD may also do the trick, but conventional hard drives are cheaper. Then you have to prepare the hard drive for Time Machine use:
- Connect the hard drive to your Mac.
- Opens Disk Utility from the Utilities folder.
- Select the hard drive and click Erase. Attention: MacOS no longer shows the disk by default, but only the volume, which can lead to problems. Here you can read how to solve them.
- Give the volume a name, select "Format: MS-DOS" and "Scheme: Master Boot Record". Unfortunately Fritze can't do anything with other settings. Then click on "Delete".
- Click Done to confirm. After that, quit Disk Utility but leave the hard drive on the Mac.
1b. Create a Time Machine disk image on the hard drive
Now you need to create a disk image on the hard drive that is suitable for Time Machine backups. The Time Machine backups are later stored in this so-called growing sparse bundle. This makes the backup program independent of the file system on the Time Machine volume's base drive. This technology is also used in NAS devices.
- Open Disk Utility again.
- Click on "File -> New Image -> Blank Image" in the menu bar.
- Select the following settings here: "Format: MacOS Extended (journaled)", "Partitions: Simple partition - Apple partition table", "Image format: growing bundle image". The rest is secondary.
- You should set something unique as the name and file name, and the just formatted hard drive as the storage location.
- The size jumps to 100 MB with "Bundle image that grows with you" - change this setting to a realistic value, about "1 TB" or something similar, just what the hard drive has to offer. Then click on "Save".
- The sparse bundle is now created. You can click Done and exit Disk Utility.
2. Set up FritzNAS on the FritzBox
You can now disconnect the hard drive from the Mac and connect it to the USB port of your FritzBox (ideally the USB 3.0 port!). Now you have to make a few small settings on the FritzBox. To do this, first open the FritzBox admin interface in the browser Storage (NAS) active“ is set and the hard disk has been recognized. Checks the hard drive if it hasn't already done so is the default. The hard drive is now made available in the network by the FritzNAS system. That's it for the preparations - now it's time for the actual Time Machine integration.. You can then go to Home Network -> FritzNAS to see if the checkmark is “
3. Set up Time Machine with FritzBox
To be on the safe side, first remove all existing Time Machine drives from Time Machine. Then open a Finder window and press (cmd)+(K) to connect to a server. Give as a server
smb://fritz-nas a. Then click on "Connect". Now the Finder should show your NAS contents.
Now select the hard disk in the file overview and then the sparse bundle. Double click it. This will mount it in Finder.
Now open a terminal window from /Applications/Utilities/ and enter the following command there:
sudo tmutil setdestination /Volumes/(VOLUMENAME). You have to replace "(VOLUMENAME)" with the name of the sparse bundle volume, in our case "TMSPARSE". So our command is:
sudo tmutil setdestination /Volumes/TMSPARSE. Confirm with your Mac administrator password.
The hard drive on the FritzBox is now specified as a Time Machine volume. All other backup volumes will be thrown out - you can add them back later. Time Machine should now create the first backup on the FritzBox.
Attention, craft solution!
Unfortunately, this solution is a real handicraft solution. This means that we cannot guarantee that the backups will work afterwards, nor that they will actually happen regularly! If you want to be on the safe side, you shouldn't use a pure network solution as the exclusive backup solution for Time Machine anyway. Although some NAS systems dominate as the devices by Synology and Western Digital TimeMachine. However, it is better to always run a USB hard drive as well. That's not a problem, because Time Machine allows mounting multiple drives.