Troubleshooting the 'Time Machine backup failed' Issue

Time Machine is macOS' integrated backup feature. It is available out-of-the-box and can be configured to work with all sorts of storage services. Users can use it manually, or set up automatic backups to be completed regularly. If you are keen on maintaining up-to-date backups of your data, then encountering issues with the Time Machine utility may be very troublesome. If Time Machine is not working for you, then these are some of the top troubleshooting tips you can try out:

Check the Compatibility of the External Storage's File System

Many users stick to the NTFS or FAT file systems because of their compatibility with Windows. However, the Time Machine utility is not compatible with them – it requires the use of a native macOS format such as macOS Extended. To fix this issue, you need to connect your external drive to your Mac, and then use the Disk Utility to make sure that the drive is using a compatible file system.

Make Sure There is Enough Space for the Backup

It is surprisingly easy to underestimate the size of your data and not realize that your external drive does not have enough space for a full backup. Make sure that there is enough free space, and delete any unnecessary files to free up more space.

Remove Leftover Time Machine Files from the Backup Drive

Time Machine tends to leave a fair bit of data while working on a new backup. In case the task fails, this data may not always be removed successfully, therefore creating unnecessary clutter and conflicts. If this is causing the problem, you can fix it by opening the external hard drive and then deleting the file '.inProgress' found in the 'Backup.backupdb' folder.

April 6, 2021

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