Backing up with AirPort Time Capsule for the first time

Your first Time Machine backup will be several gigabytes because it is backing up your entire computer. This may take overnight or longer, depending on how much data you have.

After the initial backup is complete, all subsequent backups are incremental. That means Time Machine copies only files that have changed since the previous backup. All of this happens automatically in the background as long as you are connected to your backup disk.

Tips for your first backup

  • You should let the initial back up process complete without interruption.
  • If you’re using a portable Mac, leave it in the same room as AirPort Time Capsule for best performance (and leave your computer connected to an AC power outlet). Also, for your backup to initiate automatically, a portable Mac’s power cord must be connected to an AC outlet.
  • AirPort Time Capsule also serves as a full-featured Wi-Fi base station. So, if you’re adding AirPort Time Capsule to an existing wireless network, you’ll want to set it as your primary base station, rather than as a network client. That way, you benefit from its faster performance.
  • If you have an Ethernet cable, you can perform the initial backup via Ethernet for the fastest performance. Simply plug the Ethernet cable into one of AirPort Time Capsule's Ethernet ports and the other into your Mac's Ethernet port.
  • In the Sharing pane of System Preferences, make sure a name is entered in the "Computer Name:" field.

Configure Time Machine to use your AirPort Time Capsule

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Choose View > Time Machine.
  3. Set Time Machine to On if it is off.
  4. Select your AirPort Time Capsule as the backup destination. (If you're not automatically prompted to do this--because you've used a different backup disk, for example--click Select Backup Disk..., pick the AirPort Time Capsule desired, then click "Use Disk".)
  5. In the pop up window that appears, enter the password for your AirPort Time Capsule.
  6. Click Connect.

Time Machine will start your initial backup after a countdown timer. You should let the back up process complete without interruption.

Learn more

See also: Multiple physical network interfaces on the same subnet may cause routing issues.

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