Apple always tries to keep things non-intimidating and easy for anyone whether they are computer experts or not. However, despite all the efforts made by Apple, creating data backups can quickly become intimidating and there may not be any workaround for this. Whether you are already familiar with Airport Time Capsule and Time Machine backups or you are just starting out, there are some things related to data backups on Mac that can be confusing and need to be demystified.
If you want to put it very simply, Time Machine refers to the in-built backup software that comes with Macs. On the other hand, Time Capsule refers to network device from Apple which works with the Time Machine primarily but has lots more to do as well. Let’s discover both in detail and try to find out how you can compare the two.
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Basically, there are several options available for Mac backups and different companies have their software products that can create backups of your Mac. But when it comes to Apple’s own solution for automated backups, Time Machine is the one. It is included in your Mac by default and comes completely for free. Besides, it is quite foolproof as well.
Time Machine has to be turned on manually but there is no rocket science involved in that as all you have to do is to flip a switch on. It continues to work whenever your Mac is turned on and is working. It allows your Mac to keep backups on hourly basis for last 24 hours along with daily backups for an entire month and also the weekly backups spanning over all the past months until your disk gets full.
Now, this allows you to restore your machine to most recent state in which it worked successfully. The software also offers a certain window in the past with all the snapshots of your machine, allowing you to restore all your deleted files. This even works for the file versions that were previously saved on your Mac.
The Time Machine software from Apple also works fine with the external drives. There are some NAS makers such as QNAP and Synology that make their devices such that they can be configured easily for working as network-based servers for Time Machine. Time Machine can also be used with the stand-alone drives from Western Digital or Seagate.
The basic design of Time Machine is, however, such that it works as your primary, local backup on Mac which means that any of the data that is backed up to your Time Machine always stays close to your computer physically. Also, it serves as your first option in case you have to perform a restore. When something goes wrong with your Mac, you can use Time Machine and your hard drive on which all your data is being backed up for restoring the computer to the point when the problem first happened.
Apple also maintains an entire network server of its own for Time Machine backups. Now, that’s where all the confusion happens for some Mac users. So, let’s find out what makes Airport Time Capsule different.
Time Capsule is basically the network device currently being sold by Apple and it is designed specifically to work in conjunction with the Time Machine. As of now, Time capsule comes in 2TB and 3TB capacity options.
When we talk about Airport Time Capsule, it is not just some usual hard disk. It is an entire network router that supports the IEEE 802.11ac networking standard which is the same that is supported by fast Wi-Fi networks on most of the newer mobile devices and computers.
As Apple always wants to keep things simple, it allows users to configure a Time Capsule with the help of AirPort Utility app which can be found easily in the Utilities folder on Mac. As soon as it goes live on the network, Time Capsule becomes visible to all the Macs connected to that particular network as valid location for Time Machine backups.
That’s what makes AirPort Time Capsule one great option for ensuring all the Macs on the network are regularly backed up at every instant. While the backup features of Time Capsule are specific to Macs, it works as your network router when used with the devices from various other manufacturers as well.
What May Be Wrong With The Time Machine Backups?
Many amongst us who back up their Mac to external hard disk drives using Time Machine backup or AirPort Time Capsule on the network find it to exactly the same extent as needed. As a matter of fact, it is probably more than what we might have had ever before.
However, despite all the effectiveness of Time Machine backups, one should not rely on these as their only backup option. The simple reason is that whether you are backing up to Time Machine or to Time Capsule, you depend on just one hard disk drive for storing all the data in the backup.
In any unfortunate event, the failure of the backup drive would mean that all your data will be lost. And, the worst thing is that you won’t be able to recover any of your lost data in this case.
Nevertheless, the only thing that is worse than non-functional Time Machine backups is having an outdated or simply not having a backup at all. It is common for people to run the Time Machine backup only once on their external drive and then put it somewhere and completely forget about it until a problem arrives. Network issues may also disrupt data transfer to the AirPort Time Capsule.
So, you really need a solution that can be set up once and completely forgotten about. There is no need to keep it as your primary backup source, however.
That’s all about AirPort Time Capsule and Time Machine backups. The concept is almost the same with slight differences and Time Capsule offers you a bit of extra security by keep all your Macs connected to the network backed up. Nevertheless, you must keep an additional backup source as well.
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