Best network Time Machine drives
We tested four network–attached storage devices that all claim Time Machine support to see which one fared best
When Apple launched Time Machine, it also released its Time Capsule Wi–Fi router and hard disk combo, making it easy for you to back up your Mac without having to worry about plugging it in. It’s some years since the Time Capsule was last updated, but thankfully there are now plenty of other options if you want to back up wirelessly to a network drive.
It’s important to note at the outset that while all of the drives here are designated as being compatible with Time Machine by their manufacturers, Apple doesn’t recommend any NAS drive for use with Time Machine. Its recommendation is that you use a directly connected hard drive or SSD. One reason for that may be that it is in the process of deprecating Apple File Protocol (AFP) in favor of SMB and that the implementation of SMB in macOS appears to be less than perfect.
There are a couple of other things to consider when you buy a network drive. One is how many drive bays it should have. There are several reasons you might want a box with multiple drives: storage capacity, security, and speed. The more drive bays a box has, the more disks it can house and the more storage you have available. However, some NAS boxes can also be configured as RAID units, meaning that you can ‘stripe’ data (store it across multiple drives) for speed, or ‘mirror’ it (duplicate data on multiple drives) to prevent developing a fault.
Oh, and don’t overlook the case needed to hold your precious data.
If you want to replace Apple’s AirPort, ensure that the NAS works well with Time Machine.