Time Machine for some/all Macs on your network


Found this out tonight and thought it well worth sharing (but assume many may already know).

You can easily set up a share folder/drive on one Mac on your network for the Macs on your home (or work) network to back up to.

In the Sharing Pane of system preferences under “File sharing”

  1. Click the plus to add a shared folder.

  2. Right clicking on that shared folder brings up a contextual menu with “Advanced options”

  3. Choose Time machine backup destination as an option.

This will make one of the old MacPros I’m about to get my hands on much more useful as it will become shared storage and a Time Machine backup location for the other Macs in the house.


Good info, thanks. Did not know that.

Worth maybe keeping in mind that Mac Pros use lots of power. My 3,1 (Mac Pro 2008) uses 2-250W when just sitting there doing not much apart from looking awesome. I would not be wanting to run one of them 24/7. That’s a minimum of 5kWhr/day, or about $550 per year to run at $0.30 per kWh for electricity.

Mac Minis are much better suited to a 24/7 usage regime. I’ve got a MM server that has been running more or less continuously since 2009. Before I rebooted it the last time it had been up for over 2 years. It probably still hasn’t used $500 of electricity.


I hadn’t considered that, I’ll check the power consumption when I have it plugged in to my UPS (as it shows total wattage being drawn) and I can then calculate if its economical to do. The MacPros will basically cost me next to nothing (probably about $50 or so for both of them) and I’d like to find a use for them if possible (other than looking awesome and being a great piece of design like the ‘lampshade’ iMac I also have)


There are many options for this like NAS units, Airports with HDD’s attached or an actual Time Capsule. All of these would consume less power than your old Mac Pro.

For desktop machines, while it doesn’t allow for sharing files unless the machine is on, attaching a 2.5" HDD to the back of the machine just for TM duties is often the quickest, easiest and most cost-effective solution. Of course, if you have laptops this isn’t really an option.

If it wasn’t for Australia’s generally shitty upload speeds I’d suggest that online backups would also be a very attractive solution, especially when you factor in the cost of acquiring and running a home server.


+1 for power usage issues. I used to have a Mac Pro used for backups. After a few years someone alerted me to their high power usage, so I checked using one of those power consumption meters. Sure enough it was consuming so much electricity (even when doing nothing) that I figured out I could buy a new mac mini to replace it every two years and still be ahead. I felt it was a shame to bin it, but I really couldn’t figure out any legitimate use for such an electricity-guzzler.


It is a major limitation of these machines. I’ve got mine at work now, which is powered by an off-grid solar system, so I don’t have to worry about the power consumption. The system is big enough to run it, so it makes no difference whether it’s there or not.


I’d love to go solar, even at this scale just for my little server rack… problem is that is somewhere around 5kWh / day. At least half of that is due to the server itself so I really am in whole of house solar + power wall 2 territory :stuck_out_tongue: Sadly I can’t really afford that sort of money just now.


I figure $500/yr to run my Mac Pro 24/7 is ok… it’s my main workhorse for work, and a new equivalent iMac Pro would cost me $7k, so I’ll still be ahead in 14 years… :thinking::man_shrugging::joy: