How to move Time Machine backups from one AirPort Time Capsule to another

Learn how to migrate existing Time Machine backups from one AirPort Time Capsule to another, and to use your new AirPort Time Capsule for regular backups.

Follow these steps to copy backups between two AirPort Time Capsule base stations.

Connect the AirPort Time Capsule base stations

  1. Connect an Ethernet cable from your Mac to a LAN port   on your original AirPort Time Capsule.
  2. Connect another Ethernet cable from a LAN port on the original AirPort Time Capsule to a LAN port on your new AirPort Time Capsule.

Note: Leave your Internet connection cable connected to the WAN port of your original AirPort Time Capsule at this step. Don't connect an Ethernet cable to the WAN port   of your new Airport Time Capsule yet.

Stop backing up to your original AirPort Time Capsule

Before you can copy files from one AirPort Time Capsule to another, you need to turn off Time Machine on any Macs that back up to it.

  1. On your Mac, open System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Click the Time Machine icon in the System Preferences window that appears. 
  3. Slide the Time Machine switch to Off.

Copy your backups to the new AirPort Time Capsule

  1. Open a new Finder window.
  2. Select your original AirPort Time Capsule from the Finder sidebar.
  3. Click the Connect As button in the Finder window, then enter the password for the AirPort Time Capsule.
  4. Mount the original AirPort Time Capsule volume in the Finder by double-clicking it.
  5. Open a new Finder window.
  6. Select your new AirPort Time Capsule from the Finder sidebar.
  7. Click the Connect As button in the Finder window, then enter the password for the AirPort Time Capsule.
  8. Mount the new AirPort Time Capsule volume in the Finder by double-clicking it.
  9. In the Finder, drag the backup disk image from the original AirPort Time Capsule to the new AirPort Time Capsule. 


This copies your Time Machine backup files, so it may take some time to finish depending on the size of your backup. If you don't see both base stations in the sidebar, choose Finder > Preferences… > Sidebar and make sure "Connected servers" & "Bonjour computers" are selected.

Configure your new AirPort Time Capsule

After the copy is finished, configure your new AirPort Time Capsule for your network. As part of setting up your new AirPort Time Capsule, you might need to move your Internet connection from the WAN port   of your original AirPort Time Capsule to the WAN port   of your new AirPort Time Capsule. See the documentation that came with your AirPort Time Capsule for information about setting it up.

Start backing up to the new AirPort Time Capsule

When you're ready to use your new AirPort Time Capsule for backups, use these steps.

  1. Open System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Click the Time Machine icon in the System Preferences window.
  3. Click the Select Backup Disk button.
  4. Select the new AirPort Time Capsule in the sheet that appears, then click Use Disk.
  5. Make sure the Time Machine switch is set to ON.
  6. Close the System Preferences window.

Your backups are now performed using your new AirPort Time Capsule. 

Learn More

These resources also include information about Time Machine and backups.

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