Mac backup to Synology NAS with Time Machine and ABB: how to do it

Creating backups is essential to ensure data security and the ability to restore important information in the event of loss, hardware failure or emergency situations. In this article we will explore the possibilities of backup su Mac explaining how Synology NAS can be used as a reliable solution for storing backups.

Due strategie di backup su Mac: Time Machine e Synology Active Backup for Business

Apple Time Machine is a backup application built into macOS operating systems. It is designed to simplify the process data backup on an external storage medium or on a storage device accessible via the local network. Time Machine, which allows you to easily recover deleted files or restore the system if necessary, find the best tools for storing and managing backup archives in Synology NAS.

A backup solution like Time Machine it certainly wasn’t born today and actually has many years behind it. Precisely this “seniority” is his strength: it is in fact a reliable, safe and now largely mature application. Combining it with the use of a NAS Synology (here is the NAS selector, which helps you choose the most suitable storage device), you can set up a system in just a few minutes.set and forget” for data backup, to be used even in the event of “IT disasters”. For example, if the macOS system no longer starts or you realize that you have removed important data. Time Machine stays running constantly for protect data of users.

In the second part of the article we will instead focus on Synology Active Backup for Business (ABB), a solution for the management and data protection within corporate environments. The application allows you to back up, restore and protect data across different devices and platforms, including macOS systems. Active Backup for Business It offers full system backup, fast recovery and centralized management capabilities, making business data protection efficient and reliable.

Setting up your Synology NAS for backups with Apple Time Machine

In order to memorize the macOS backups on the Synology NAS, you need to create a shared folder by accessing the administration interface: it will be used by the Time Machine software to save your backup copies starting from a macOS system connected to a local network.

As a first step, we suggest create a user authorized to read and write in the Time Machine folder: this user, to whom the read/write permissions, is used by the macOS system to access the Synology NAS and use available space. To do this, just open the Control Panel in the NAS administration interface, click User and group so up Crea.

Apple Time Machine User Creation

Bringing himself into the Control Panelby clicking on Shared folder and finally up Crea, you can create the shared folder used to store macOS backups. As the name of shared folder it can be written simply TIME MACHINE then select the location where it should be created.

Backup Mac con Time Machine su NAS Synology

The other boxes displayed in the folder creation window on your Synology NAS should be left deactivated, as seen in the image. On the next screen Enable additional security measureyou must select Ignore.

Setting the space that the Time Machine folder can occupy on the NAS

It is usually a good idea to set the amount of storage to be assigned to Time Machine so that it is approximately equal to double the capacity of the disk used on the macOS system being backed up. Any variations can however be applied in a second phase. This setting is crucial because Time Machine tends to take up all the space that he finds available. The concept is that Time Machine retain as much data as possible, so you can even go back in time. The set value (“folder quota“) corresponds to the space that i Time Machine backups they will be able to use at most on the Synology storage device.

Synology NAS shared folder space

On the same screen it is also a good idea to tick the box that activates the integrity check of backups stored on the NAS (Enable data checksums for enhanced data integrity). Finally, read/write permissions must be assigned to the shared folder TIME MACHINE to the previously created user.

Shared folder read and write permissions

Configuring file transfer via SMB from the macOS system

Starting with macOS Sierra (10.12), Time Machine uses SMB as the default protocol. We therefore recommend clicking on File Serviceschoose SMB and check the box Enable SMB service.

Synology SMB NAS Settings

With one click on the button Advanced settingsyou need to activate the three boxes in Generalthat is to say Abilita Opportunistic Locking, Enable SMB2 version e Enable durable SMB managements.

SMB sharing setting

By clicking on Salvain the tab Advance the options must be checked instead Turn on Bonjour service discovery to locate your Synology NAS e Enable Bonjour Time Machine transmission via SMB.

Enable Bonjour service

After clicking Applicayou must select the button Set up Time Machine folders to choose the previously created shared folder (in our example with the name TIME MACHINE). If you want to enable backup with Time Backup su other macOS systemsjust add additional shared folders in the same configuration screen.

Cartella backup Time Machine

Since the Synology NAS can create files snapshot i.e. replicas of the contents of shared folders, it makes sense to set the system so that it does not keep more than 2 or 3 replicas of the folder TIME MACHINE. Otherwise, the available space on the NAS would be used up unnecessarily.

How to set up Time Machine for automatic backup on Synology NAS

Now that everything is ready on the Synology NAS side, to configure backup with Time Machine from the Mac system, simply access System Preferences by clicking on the apple icon at the top left, choose Time Machine then click on Add backup disk.

Add backup disk in Time Machine

The next step is to choose the shared folder created on the Synology NAS. First of all, the name with which the NAS identifies itself within the local network must be selected destination folder of backups (in our example it is called TIME MACHINE). Finally, you simply need to click Use disk.

The macOS system asks you to provide the account credentials user created on the NAS: enter the correct username and password and then click on the button Connect.

After carrying out the operation, within a few minutes Time Machine establishes a connection with the Synology NAS and automatically creates a backup archive.

Time Machine performs the first backup automatically. To make sure everything is working properly just click on the Time Machine icon and select Back up now. The Apple application makes subsequent backups without user intervention: you can verify this backup status by clicking the Time Machine icon. Additionally, you can explore previous backups by accessing their contents and restore specific files or folders where necessary.

If you want to protect your data with an additional layer of security, you can enable encryption from Time Machine. For this specific need, it should not be done from the DSM interface on the Synology NAS. There password is backed up corresponds to the cryptographic key used to protect the contents of the backup archives: it must be carefully guarded because, if it is lost, it will no longer be possible to recover the contents of the backup created with Time Machine.

The main limitations of the Time Machine-based backup solution

The approach we have described is within the reach of all owners of a macOS system and is truly immediate to apply. However, it suffers from some limitation: you have to be aware of it.

First of all, backup with Time Machine works if and only if the Synology NAS and Mac system are both connected to the same local network. The backup of data stored on the macOS system does not rely on cloud and, therefore, it cannot be carried out when the user is away from home or office.

The second restriction has to do with exploring the contents of backup archives created with Time Machine. By opening the file manager integrated into DSM and accessing the folder TIME MACHINEyou notice that the backups are saved in the format .sparsebundle. It is a typology of disk image used in Apple operating systems that grows dynamically as new data is added.

A file .sparsebundle it’s essentially a package containing Time Machine backup data…


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