How to Resolve "Time Machine Backup/Restore Failed"

On this page, you will learn important solutions on how to fix Time Machine backup failed problem. You will also learn some tips to avoid Time Machine backup/restore failure.

Apr 12,2020 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

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I lately tried to back up the data on my Mac but the Time Machine backup failed. Are there feasible solutions to “Time Machine backup/restore failed. Please help! While the Time Machine is the best option to have your Mac backed up automatically, you might have also experienced a similar problem. This post will explain the reasons your time machine failed to back up and the solutions you can use to remove such errors.

Part 1: How to fix “Time Machine backup failed”

It’s easy to assume that you require a new hard drive for backups when you see a message “Time Machine restore failed.” However, you can delete some older files from your Time Machine or even reduce the information you are trying to back up so that it doesn’t occupy too much space.

Causes of Time Machine backup failure

The Time Machine is designed to do hourly backups but there are times when it fails to do them. In such cases, you will see error messages in the Time Machine menu extra and its system preferences. Below are some of the cause of Time Machine backup failure:

Solutions to “Time Machine backup failed”

There is no doubt that the Time Machine is the best backup solution for your Mac. You can use it to back up your Mac to the airport time capsule, external hard drive, or connected server. However, if you are experiencing Time Machine backup failed situation, below are some ways to help you fix it:

Solution 1: Check the external hard drive file system

While many hard drives usually use Windows NTFS and FAT as the default file system set up at the factory, these are not compatible with drives of the Time Machines. If you have a new hard drive, you should format it before performing backup with a Time Machine.

Remember that an external drive should be formatted in the same way as a Mac startup disk. Besides, avoid formatting your hard drive to APFS because it’s impossible for the Time Machine to currently back it up. Here is how you can format your hard drive:

Solution 2: Uninstall App Cleaner and uninstaller

If your computer has App Cleaner and Uninstaller, consider uninstalling it. You should do this if the Time Machine shows an error associated with the App Cleaner and Uninstall folder with the “?” symbol. Here is how you can remove this App Cleaner & Uninstall. Go and delete manually the “~/Library/Containers/com.nektony.App-Cleaner”.

Solution 3: Check if other services and process are preventing backup

If you installed new apps, such as a malicious program, it can prevent the Time Machine from running. As a result, you should go to Activity Monitor and quit any suspicious app and service.

Alternative data backup solution on Mac

While the Time Machine is the obvious and simplest way to backup data on your Mac, you can also use alternative ways for backup. The following are some of the ways you can use to backup on your Mac:

Option 1: Use iCloud to backup data on Mac

The iCloud option is one of the best ways to backup your data but it depends if you subscribe for iCloud storage as the free storage is only up to 5GB. You can decide to keep documents, Pages, Mail, and many more in iCloud. This works well if you have more than a single Mac, or you would like to access your data on another device such as an iPad. To back up using iCloud, take the following steps:

Option 2: Use Google Drive, Dropbox, or any other backup solution

Apart from iCloud, you can also find other alternative backup solutions, such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox. However, these solutions are suitable for storing files that you would like to collaborate with other people or for sharing with someone.

Like iCloud, you might need to subscribe to data plans to make sure that you store all your data. In this way, you will be able to store a few files and access them from any device of your choice.


Part 2: How to fix “Time Machine restore failed”

There are times when you see the Time Machine restore failed. When you see this message, there is no need to panic because there are reasons why this error happened and you can fix them.

Causes of Time Machine restore failure

The Time Machine should work as expected for you to have any chances of having the right backup. However, it’s normal to experience the Time Machine restore failure. Some of the common causes rendering the Time Machine fail to restore are listed below:

Solutions to “Time Machine restore failed”

The Time Machine restored failed can be caused by different elements. Thankfully, there are various solutions you can use to repair the Time Machine. Follow the below steps to make sure that you remove this problem once for all.

Step 1: Run the first Aid on your storage device, such as an external drive.

Step 2: Turn off the Time Machine

You can also turn off the Time Machine if you experience backup failure. The best way to do this is by going to the System Preferences then select off on the Time Machine.

You can access the location of backup in the Time Machine and select a folder that shows .inProgress. Move this folder to the trash so that you can free up some storage space. Turn the Time Machine on and continue with your backup.

Step 3: Check the free storage space of your external drive

It’s recommended to check the free storage of your external hard drive, especially if it has tons of files and folders. Make sure that the available free space is enough to do a backup.

If this is not the case, you should delete some of the files to get more free storage space. To free up your computer’s storage space, you can also empty the Trash.

More reliable Mac Data Recovery Solution

If any of the solutions above failed to fix the Time Machine, perhaps it’s a good idea to use the Recoverit Mac Data Recovery software. You can use this tool to recover deleted or lost files on either Windows or Mac. This software is renowned for being easy to use and recovering lost documents quickly.

It doesn’t need you to have any tech knowledge to use it and it supports most of the commonly used files on Max, such as videos, photos, Word documents, and more. Here are the steps you need to take to recover lost files due to Time Machine restore failed:

Step 1: Choose a file location

First of all, you should download and install the Recoverit Mac Data Recovery tool for Mac or Windows. Then choose a file location where you store it.

select file location

Go and click the Start button to launch the recovery process of the lost or deleted files.

Step 2: Scan for deleted or lost files

Recoverit will begin scanning the hard disk.

scan deleted/lost files

While the quick scan is fast, the deep scan might take a while because the recovery software has to trace the location of lost or deleted files caused by the Time Machine failing to restore the files.

Step 3: Preview and restore files

The Recoverit software allows you to preview the recovered files before saving them.

preview recovered files

Here, you can preview the files and click Recover to restore the files to any location of your choice.


Part 3: Learn tips to prevent “Time Machine backup/restore failure

It’s very important to backup your devices to safeguard your data. Whether you’re using an external hard drive or iCloud to save your content, you still need to do a full backup. This is because it prevents you from losing all your precious content in case of device crashes.

If your Mac crashes while working on a project without performing a backup, it might take you a long time to reclaim your data. However, with a recent backup, you will just need to restore your Mac and proceed to work.

Overview of Time Machine backup and restore

The Time Machine is designed to backup your Mac and Windows. Therefore, it will save the data on your hard drive into a single file known as Backups.backupdb. When time machine backup fails repeatedly, it can lead to corrupted or deleted files.

Thus, you can only reclaim your backup files by recovering deleted or corrupted Backups.backupdb files. For this reason, you should always use the Recoverit Mac Data Recovery software.

Proper steps on using Time Machine backup and restore

When using Time Machine to get a backup for your Mac, you can recover files from that backup. It makes sense to restore files after the original files were deleted or if the hard disk was replaced or erased like during a repair.

Therefore, if you’re restoring from the Time Machine, you should consider restoring all your files. Alternatively, you can restore all your files and Mac operating system.

Remember that you can recover individual files or recover all your hard drive from a backup you did recently. Besides, if you use a cloning program to clone your Mac, you can decide to restore the whole hard drive using a backup, and you can also choose to make a bootable installer.

But if you intend to use a cloud-based backup service, you can download lost data to restore your Mac as long as you have the internet. Although cloud-based services are different, most of them still have a Restore files tool to help you with the restoring process. All you need to do is to download the files using the internet, though it might take a while to restore your entire Mac.

Tips for backup and restore files via Time Machine

With Time Machine, you can backup your whole Mac, such as documents, music, files, and apps. Here are some of the things you should do to backup and restore files:


Closing words

It’s essential to have a reliable backup solution so that you can recover your files in case of time machine backup failed Mojave. Using an external drive or iCloud backup services can be the best way to go.

If your Mac is destroyed or fails to do a backup, you can have a copy of all your data safe in a secure location and recover it. However, if you realize that all solutions have failed to restore your data, your best chance is to use Recoverit Mac Data Recovery Software. This tool can help you restore deleted or corrupted files quickly.

Sue Wayne

staff Editor

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