Several Mac Users Complaining of Time Machine Backup Failures

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 8 Dec 2021

Time Machine

Mac users running the latest versions of macOS Big Sur and macOS Monterey appear to be facing issues with the Time Machine backup feature. Widespread reports of the issue were spotted on Reddit.

The common thread in all the recent complaints about Time Machine backups on Mac is that the backup process never completes for M1 Mac users running macOS Monterey version 12.0.1 or Big Sur version 11.6.1.

Although hard to replicate, the issue appears to pop up when Time Machine runs the first backup after macOS Monterey or Big Sur is installed or after the OS is updated to the latest point releases. Complaints explained that Time Machine initially says it is “Waiting to Complete First Backup.” As the backup inches closer towards completion, Time Machine suddenly says “Oldest Backup: None” and “Latest Backup: None.” The tool also doesn’t say if the initial backup was successful or not.

On the MacRumors Forums, user likegadgets said:

“On a new machine (M1 MAX) with fresh update of Monterey 12.0.1, set up new (not migrated from a previous machine) It has been impossible to finish a first Time Machine. I have tried two freshly formatted drives (APFS encrypted) one mechanical and one SSD. The backup finishes takes a couple of hours, and the status is “waiting to complete first backup”. My case is now with a senior Apple engineer. Trying new backup with drive directly connected to MBP and no encryption. Something is broken with Time Machine.”

Redditor u/muhdakml wrote:

“I’m having the exact same issue. Been wrestling with it for a week now. Time Machine runs its first back up. Then appears to not have run a backup at all. Snapshots are there, but no files in finder and the Time Machine is not recognized by other computers as a Time Machine that could migrate a backup. Apple seems to be saying this is an issue with Monterey, but they aren’t sure why yet”

Another MacRumors Forum member added:

“I wish that I had searched the forums earlier. I have wasted countless hours troubleshooting through two reinstalls and with 3 different SSDs. My issue with Time Machine is that it performs backups but there are no notifications of their completion. Moreover, Time Machine reports “Oldest backup: None” and “Latest backup: None”. Also, Finder does not show any files present on the SSD. However, Get Info reports gigabytes of disk usage. I purchased a $2,500 MacBook Pro 14-inch with the intention moving out of “Wintel”. It is not going to happen — at least not now.”

Potential Solution?

To fix this issue, there were isolated reports of people saying that a clean install of macOS fixed the issue. Attempting to run the first Time Machine backup in Safe Mode also appeared to work for some others. However, there is no single fix that is guaranteed to work for everyone affected by the problem.

Some users speculate that Apple’s silent and unknown change to the APFS format in recent macOS versions is to blame for the issues with Time Machine. For now, we suggest sticking to a third-party tool to back up important data on your Mac.

Are you also facing issues with Time Machine on your Mac? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.

[Via MacRumors]