What is Time Machine service?

Back up your computers to a server instead of individual external hard disks. Learn how to set up OS X Server as a Time Machine destination.

Time Machine is the easy and complete backup system built in to your Mac. Time Machine tracks all your file changes and efficiently stores a copy on an additional hard disk that you designate. For most people, it’s an external hard disk directly attached to the computer.

Time Machine service is backup service offered by a Mac server on the network. It uses its storage space as a backup destination for other computers on the network (called “clients”). A shared folder on the server holds an image of each computer’s hard disk (it can be encrypted or not) and keeps all the Time Machine information as if it were a hard disk attached directly to the computer.

Before you begin

To complete this tutorial, you need a few things:

  • A Mac server to run Time Machine service

  • A hard disk that’s not your startup disk

    You’ll be using an external USB hard disk for this tutorial.

  • At least one client Mac that will be backed up (it doesn’t need to have Time Machine turned on yet)

To use Time Machine services, your client Mac and the Mac running Time Machine service must be on the same network.

Go to Lesson: Create a Time Machine backup server.