Backing up with Time Machine to network storage using a sparse bundle

Tags mac how-to


Send Time Machine backups to a sparse bundle that lives in a network storage location, either CIFS or NFS.


  • macOS
  • NFS or CIFS network share


  1. Open Disk Utility, in the menu bar, select Go → Utilities → Disk
  2. In the menu bar, select File → New Image → Blank Image...
  3. Name the disk image in the "Save As:" and "Name" fields, then change the Image Format to "sparse bundle disk image."
  4. Set the Size.
  5. Keeping the default Format and Partitions, click the "Save" button at the bottom right of the window.
  6. The new sparsebundle will automount. Unmount it in the disk utility app.
  7. Connect to the network storage share: In the menu bar, select Go → Connect to Server. Enter in the Server Address path, and click the Connect button.
  8. Open a terminal window, and use the mv command to move the .sparsebundle file to the share.
  9. Double click on the sparse bundle to mount it on the computer in /Volumes/.
  10. Run the following command to set the sparse bundle as the Time Machine destination: sudo tmutil setdestination '/Volumes/VOLUME_NAME'
  11. You can then turn Time Machine on in System Preferences and confirm that the location is set to the locally mounted sparse bundle.


Article ID: 1840
Wed 5/27/20 11:27 AM
Tue 11/15/22 8:27 AM