How to Use Apple Time Capsule to Backup on a Modern Wireless Network

Apple Time Capsules

Time Capsule is a discontinued line of Apple network backup products. Here's how you can use it on the modern web.

In 2008, Apple introduced a product called the Time Capsule, which combined an AirPort wireless base station and an internal hard drive, along with macOS Time Machine backup software.

The Time Capsule acted as a network-attached storage (NAS) device and allowed users to manually back up their data using the Time Capsule as a NAS volume, as well as using the Time Machine application for automation. backups.

Apple still ships Time Machine in the /Applications folder with macOS, but discontinued the Time Capsule product line in 2018 as more versatile and cheaper alternatives became available.

There were originally five Time Capsule models, all with Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity. The first four models had the same form factor as Apple's AirPort Extreme line of Wi-Fi base stations, but the fifth Time Capsule model took the form of a small tower with the hard drive sandwiched vertically in the center of the device.

The latest model included two possible internal storage capacities: 2 TB or 3 TB.

AirPort Extreme third generation.

Time capsules today

Today you can still find working Time Capsule devices on the used market, including eBay, Amazon and other online retailers. If you choose wisely, you can find an original model for around $50 or less.

These devices are still good NAS backup devices as long as the amount of data that needs to be backed up does not exceed 2 or 3 TB.

See See our other article on how to repair a fifth generation time capsule for modern use.

Time connection Connection capsules to a modern network

To connect a vintage Time Capsule device to a modern network, you can use Wi-Fi or Ethernet, but we recommend Ethernet if possible, for both performance and reliability.

If you are using a cable or DSL modem, you can usually connect the Time Capsule's Ethernet WAN port directly to the modem. Or you can connect an Ethernet switch to the modem and then connect the time capsule to it.

The rear ports of the time capsule. Notice the small reset button in the lower right corner.

Then plug the Time Capsule's power cord into an AC outlet to turn it on.

You can also use the AirPort Utility app for macOS in the /Applications/Utilities folder to connect your Time Capsule to a network over Wi-Fi or use it as a bridge to another Wi-Fi network.

If you want to restore your Time Capsule or update its firmware, it will also need an Internet connection.

Reset and restore

You can reset your Time Capsule software to factory state by pressing the small there's a recessed button on the back next to the power port, but we won't go into all the reset details here. In the previous article, we covered the reset and restore processes for your Time Capsule, so refer to that discussion for details on how to reset or restore.

After resetting your Time Capsule to its factory settings, launch AirPort Utility for macOS and Control-clickon the Time Capsule when it appears in the utility application window:

> The installation is complete.

In the pop-up window that appears, you can click Edit, and then specify the device network name, base station name and login password.

You can also use AirPort Utility to erase and rename the Time Capsule's internal hard drive.

If your Time Capsule is connected to the Internet, AirPort Utility will also check for a firmware update from Apple and, if available, prompt you to update.

Update the firmware and the Time Capsule will restart after updating the firmware.

Update the firmware if necessary.

Backup to Finder

To manually back up files from your Mac to a Time Capsule in the macOS Finder, you first need to connect your Time Capsule's hard drive to the Finder desktop.

To do this, select Go->Connect to Server from the Finder menu bar at the top of the screen. Click the Browse button in the Connection window and you will see your Time Capsule in the list of network devices:

Connecting to a new Time Capsule.

Connecting to a new Time Capsule.

Double- Click the Time Capsule icon and you will be prompted to sign in. Enter your Time Capsule name and password.

After you sign in, your Time Capsule's hard drive will be connected to the Finder desktop on your Mac as if it were a local drive. You can nowdouble-clickit on your desktop and drag and drop files and folders to and from it, just like any other drive.

As you copy files and folders to or from your Time Capsule's hard drive, you'll see Finder's copy progress window, just like you would with any other drive copy.

Once completed, you can disconnect your Time Capsule drive from your desktop on your Mac by Control-clicking or right-clicking it. Select Eject from the pop-up menu to eject your Time Capsule drive.

Add Time Capsule drive as a time machine

You can also use the Time Machine app for macOS to back up your data to your Time Capsule.

Time Machine is located in the /Applications folder on your Mac's startup drive.

But before you can use Time Machine, you need to add your Time Capsule as a Time Machine backup drive.

To do this, select System Preferences from the Apple menu on your Mac, then scroll down and select the General tab. in the system settings. Scroll down to the right and select Time Machine to go to the Time Machine settings panel:

Select Time Machine from the General tab.

On the right, click the Add backup disk button. You will be prompted to specify the volume that will be used as the Time Machine backup drive. Scroll through the list to select your Time Capsule drive, then click the Configure Drive button.

Add a Time Capsule drive.

You will receive a warning asking if you want to connect to the Time Capsule device. Click Connect.

If your Time Capsule drive is not already connected to the Finder desktop, you will be prompted to enter a password to sign in. Enter your password and click Connect.

Once you do this, the Time Capsule disk volume will be mounted to the desktop in the Finder.

Apple has a support page called “Select a backup drive and set encryption options on Mac” in the macOS User Guide that details the installation steps.

If a new window appears, you can select the maximum space used for backups and choose whether to encrypt backups. Click “Done” after selecting “Settings”.

You may or may not be asked to erase your Time Capsule disk. Only do this if it does not contain data that you want to save.

If you have previously created Time Machine backups, you may be asked if you want to use those backups as part of the new backup. If so, claim the backups to merge them with the new backup.

If you choose encryption for a new backup, you will be prompted to enter an encryption password. Be sure to write down the new password.

Once you set the Time Capsule volume as a new backup target, macOS will immediately begin creating backups.

Backup with Time Machine

Time Offers Machine is an additional icon in the macOS menu bar that you can use to start and stop backups.

To enable this feature, open System Settings->Control Center and scroll down to Time Machine. Click the pop-up menu next to Time Machine and set it to Show in menu bar.

The Time Machine icon will appear in the macOS menu bar as a small clock icon with arrows around it.

By clicking the Time Machine icon in the menu bar, you can monitor any backups in progress, skip the current backup, view existing backups, or reopen the Time Machine preferences panel.

Apple has a page that details how to add and set up a Time Machine backup, including how to automate the backup and how to use the Time Machine icon in the menu bar.

The macOS User Guide includes a section called Time Machine Settings on Mac that details how to set up Time Machine on a Mac and how to tell macOS which files and folders to back up. You can choose to back up all or just parts of your files and folders.

You can also download Time Capsule user manuals for third-, fourth-, and fifth-generation Time Capsules from the Apple Support site on the Manuals page.

Time Capsule is still a viable NAS backup solution, and many devices are still in good working order today. It's an easy way to perform quick online backups without much hassle or cost.

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