Time Machine Preparing Backup Then Stops

Time Machine Preparing Backup Then Stops

Time Machine Preparing Backup Then Stops? Time machine is a built-in tool in Mac to take data backup on an external drive and then restore it with the same setting and folder copies. Generally, the backup process does not take time if you are just updating the already backed-up folders.

For instance, when you are taking backup for the first time and large files are being added by your laptop time machine may stuck while preparing backup. So, time machine preparing backup then stops is a kind of serious issue if not handled with proper instructions.

If you are wondering how much time does a time machine take? All of it totally depends on the size of files on your MacBook and no of times you are taking backup. It will take more time whether you are taking your files and folders for the first time.

If your Mac is new and has a lot of Apps, Files, and Folders to backup then it may take around 5-20 minutes to complete it. Therefore, we recommend scheduling backup activity to clear the stack of Mac. The aforementioned time of ten minutes is for 10 GB data backup when processed for 1st time on a new Mac.

Read out if your Air Pods keep cutting out with a computer.

Time-machine remains in the “Preparing” on Mac:

Every time after the initial backup, the time machine only compares the files and folders that have been changed and updates their tailback. A message of “Preparing” is shown when the previous and newly changes files/folders are being compared. Hence, saving the fresh copy of changed files, the Time Machine updates the most recent backup for mac users.

The volume of information in Mac Storage, the total size of the backup, and the speed of connection with an external backup device are the key factors that determine the duration that Time Machine will take to complete the backup process. The following may also affect the preparation of a time machine;

  • If the backup is taken for the first time
  • If the time machine backup was interrupted previously
  • The Mac was not shut down properly
  • The external disk to store backup data was not properly ejected
  • Too large file size
  • Damage or broken drives
  • Mac operating system has pending updates
  • When the file system Change Log is missing or not usable
  • Due to any recent software update that might be controlling your system process at the backend
  • Antivirus or Firmware protection software may also affect the Time Machine completion time

Again, for all computers having a lot of files and Applications, preparing for the first backup or follow-up backup uses the progress bar to provide time estimation from completion of the job by the time machine. However, if the time machine stops showing the progress bar over 30 minutes means that your Time machine has stuck or stopped due to multiple reasons.

Fixing Time Machine Time Machine Preparing Backup Then Stops

What to do when the time machine gets stuck on “Preparing backup”? Issues with the Time machine can be fixed easily. If it is stuck preparing backup you need to stop it and start it again. You can do it by clicking the cross sign available next to the backup progress bar. Once you click the cross icon, you need to wait until the Preparing Backup screen disappears. Here, unchecking the option Backup Automatically is a plus.

Applying the following recommendation to your Mac could take you out from “Time Machine preparing backup then stops”.

  • Exclude the extra-large media files you did not want to back up. You can do so by clicking the Options and then adding these files to bypass.
  • Scanning the Mac along with the External Drive that is being used to save data. Erasing everything on it before storing backup data is a wise approach.
  • Prevent your Antivirus Application from scanning the External Drive. In many cases, the external disc scan interferes with the Time Machine activities and causes it to stuck.
  • Update macOS Operating System. You can check for system updates by following the below;

Go to systems > Preferences > Software updates

The system will look for software updates if they are available install them first. Many users have found the solution for Time Machine Preparing Backup Then Stops through the software update only.

One-Click backups using Other Tools:

If you are still facing issues with the Time machine, no worries, you may use any third-party application made specifically to back up your Mac.

There are many backup applications available some of them are listed below;

Top 05 Best Backup applications for Mac:

  1. Get Backup Pro is an excellent one-click backup application that allows you to make a selection of individual items on your computer before starting the backup process. You can also sync folders and schedule backups for later. The application allows you to save the backup on both external drives or on Mac Internal Storage Drive
  2. SuperDuper is a quick backup option that allows you to take backup even without waking up your screen. It works in a way detecting when the backup starts and ends. You can also make a selection of file types that need to be backup such as music or images.
  3. Carbon Copy Cloner is another good application that clones your Mac’s internal hard drive on your external attached device. The Smart backing facility allows you to only update files that are only changed as compared to the last backup.
  4. ChronoSync is a 2-in-1 application that works as a backup application as well as Syncing application. It can also have bootable backups for some cloud services, Mac and Windows.
  5. SmartBackUp is and smart application which is extremely easy to use when taking backups of individual files or large volume complete folders. The backup can save incremental progress so that you won’t lose any data in case of power loss.

Useful Tips to Avoid Data Backup issues in Mac using Time Machine:

Before your frustration gets to an extreme level for time machine preparing backup then stops. Do once go through the following provided tips to avoid backup data issues in Mac.

First of all, start sizing the data volume your Mach machine is going to copy on an external device this will get you to a clear estimate for Time Machine Preparing for the backup. You can size the data by;

Step-1: Go to the Apple menu

Step-2: go to System Preferences

Step-3: Time Machine and then click on Options

Here at the bottom of the pop-up screen, you will see “Estimated size of full backup” in GBs.

Another Tip to avoid backup delays is reducing the size of your backup. This doesn’t even delete files on your system nor do we recommend it. You can do it by excluding some files or complete folders from the backup.

To exclude a file/folder from the backup, click on the Plus (+) icon at the bottom of the Time Machine window. A list of items will appear that are ready to back up. Make a selection of items that you want to exclude.


After the above-mentioned detailed information, we are pretty much sure that the Time machine Preparing backup then stops, is clear. The provided different methods will ensure your data protection as well as expedite the process of taking backup. It is suggested by the experts that do once consider given tips and tricks before taking a backup of your Mac using a Time Machine. You won’t get yourself in trouble.

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