Wondershare Recoverit

Hard Drive Recovery

  • Recovers deleted or lost files from hard drive effectively, safely and completely.
  • Supports data recovery from 500+ data loss scenarios, including computer crash, partition loss, accidental human error, etc.
  • Supports 1000+ file formats recovery with a high success rate and without any quality loss.
Free Download Free Download Free Download Learn More >
hard drive recovery

Fixed - Can't Connect to a Current Time Machine Backup Disk

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 24, 2024 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

After finishing a Time Machine backup, when trying to access the Time Machine backup, you got an error that said: can't connect to a current time machine backup disk. The error stopped you from accessing your Time Machine backups and what's more, your files inside the backups.

Here is how to fix the error "can't connect to a current Time Machine backup disk" and show you how to restore files when you can't access the Time Machine disk.

Can't Connect to a Current Time Machine Backup Disk

Why Can't Your Mac Connect to a Current Time Machine Backup Disk?

Here are the reasons why your Mac can't connect to the current Time Machine backup disk.

Solution 1: Check the Time Machine Backup Disk in Finder

In the Dock, click on the Finder option to open a Finder window. You should see your backup disk under the Device section. If you are unable to see the backup disk in the listing, it is possible that the disk is turned off, disconnected, or defective.

Check Time Machine Backup Disk

Solution 2: Grant Permissions to Access the Time Machine Backup

Lack of permission to the backup database folder is the NO.1 reason why your Mac can't connect to a Time Machine backup disk. You can check if there is a permission problem with your Time Machine by opening the Time Machine disk in Finder and going to Time Machine Backup > Backups.backupdb folder.

If you see a red stop sign in the Backups.backupdb folder and can't open the folder, you don't have the permission to access the backup folder.

Backupdb Folder

It is quite easy to grant permission to access the Time machine backup and enable your Mac to reconnect to the Time Machine backup disk.

Now, open the Terminal application on your Mac.

Enter the command line: cd /Volumes/TimeMachineDriveName. (Replace TimeMachineDriveName with the actual name of your Time Machine disk after /Volumes/. This takes you to the Time Machine disk that your Mac can't connect to.)

Next, enter the command line: sudo chgrp admin Backups.backupdb. This changes the group permissions so that the admin group on your Mac can access the Time Machine backup folder. And you will be required to enter the passcode of your Mac twice to confirm the change.

After the permission change is made, go back to Time Machine and see if you can enter your backup now.

Solution 3: Reconnect your Backup Disk to Mac

If your Time Machine backup disk is a physical external hard drive, it is possible that the backup disk is disconnected so that your Mac is unable to connect to the backup disk. You can reconnect the backup disk.

Remove the backup disk from your Mac, then re-plug it to your Mac.

Also, make sure the backup disk is turned on with the power source available.

Solution 4: Reselect your Backup Disk in Time Machine Preferences

If you see the error "can't connect to a current Time Machine backup disk" after you have erased the backup disk, reselecting the disk in Time Machine preference can help to fix the error. Follow the steps below:

Step 1Run System Preferences and select Time Machine. Or open the Time Machine Preference from the Time Machine menu bar.

Step 2Click on Select Backup Disk.

Step 3From this list, select the external drive you want to choose. Select 'Encrypt backups' and select the Use Disk option.

Step 4As per the requirement of Time Machine, if the disk you selected is not formatted then you are prompted to format the disk.

Select A Backup Disk

Solution 5: Verify Backups for a Network Disk

Verifying backups is only available for a network backup disk. If the backup disk is a network disk, make sure the Mac has a stable network connection and verify disk using Disk Utility on your Mac.

Step 1Go to Finder, select Applications, and click on Utilities and double-click Disk Utility.

Step 2Click the Time Machine backup drive on the left panel.

Step 3The Verify Disk option will be displayed on the right panel.

Verify Time Machine Backup Disk

Solution 6: Restore Lost Files without Time Machine

Video Tutorial on How to Recover Deleted Files on Mac Even Emptied Trash?

Recent Videos from Recoverit

View More >

If none of the methods above can get your Mac connected to the Time Machine backup disk, maybe the disk is damaged. Luckily, there is a way to restore lost files without Time Machine backups.

Recoverit Data Recovery can be installed on the Mac device to recover lost files. By using the Recoverit program, you can easily recover a minimum of thousand types of files on Mac even you don't have a Time Machine backup available.

Download and install Recoverit on your Mac and follow the following steps:

Step 1Launch Recoverit. Select a location to restore the deleted files and folders on Mac. The location should be where the deleted files were stored.

Mac Data Recovery

Step 2Click Start to scan a disk to search for the deleted files. You can check the deleted files during the scan.

Select Files to Recover

Step 3After the completion of the scan, preview the deleted files on the device, and click on recover to save the files back on the computer.

Select Files to Recover

By following the above-mentioned steps, deleted files and folders on Mac can be recovered without Time Machine.

FAQ about Time Machine Backups

Time Machine backups not visible

To see all Time Machine backups on your device, control-click the Time Machine option available in the System Preferences. A selection screen will appear representing all the mounted disks that have a backup on the Time Machine. Select a backup disk and click on‘Use Selected Disk' option to see all the backups on the disk.

Why can't I access Time Machine backups?

Typically, a disk image is created by Time Machine that enables you to view the backup. If you can't access to the Time Machine, it may be because of an unplugged backup disk. It is important to make sure that you have plugged in the backup disk, turned it on, and connected to your Mac. Or else check if the backup disk is connected to the network. Connect the backup device to the network and your Mac. If your backup disk is disconnected from the network, naturally you are unable to access to time machine backup.

Time Machine disk not mounting

If the time machine backup disk is not mounting, boot your Mac in recovery mode and mount the disk. Open Disk Utility, click on the blue Mount button in Disk Utility to mount the device. After it is all done, restart your device. You will surely get your device mounted and the Time Machined disk can be accessed now.

Time Machine won't back up external drive

Time Machine doesn't back up contents on the external device is by default. It backs up things on your internal drive. External devices are automatically excluded from time machine backup. To ensure the backup of external devices, you can:

Recoverit author

David Darlington

staff Editor

Home > Resources > Solve Mac Problems > Fixed - Can't Connect to a Current Time Machine Backup Disk