Time Machine did not finish backing up

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Just tried to do my monthly backup and the following occurred. "Time Machine did not finish backing up because some files were unavailable. Backups will resume when your Mac is unlocked". There is 1.84GB of unused space on my '2TB WD My Passport for Mac' backup disc. I am using Big Sur 11.7.1 on my 24" Mac M1. I did some google research but could not find an answer although lots of people apparently having the same problem. I have no idea what it means when it says "Backups will resume when your Mac is unlocked". Any suggestions welcome. Thanks.





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Maybe I should update to Ventura as I've now read that Big Sur might have some related problems?
 

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@JeffL

I am not providing a solution, I'm afraid; but one piece of advice is this: rarely does an Upgrade cure a problem, sometimes it makes it worse.

As regards your problem: "some files were unavailable. Backups will resume when your Mac is unlocked" suggests that Time Machine cannot access some data - reasons unclear, but the remark about your Mac being locked - does a TM backup complete if you are working on the Mac as opposed to when it's asleep? And, of course, turning off the Mac would certainly stop a TM backup:);)

Ian
 
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@JeffL

I am not providing a solution, I'm afraid; but one piece of advice is this: rarely does an Upgrade cure a problem, sometimes it makes it worse.

As regards your problem: "some files were unavailable. Backups will resume when your Mac is unlocked" suggests that Time Machine cannot access some data - reasons unclear, but the remark about your Mac being locked - does a TM backup complete if you are working on the Mac as opposed to when it's asleep? And, of course, turning off the Mac would certainly stop a TM backup:);)

Ian
Hi Ian. Thanks for your reply. I do my TM backup and let it do it's thing during the day when the Mac is on, not asleep. I leave it alone while it completes the backup. I am therefore not using any files. So I don't understand what the problem is. Apparently I'm not alone getting this message as I did Google it but couldn't find an answer to resolve the problem.
 
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I'm with Ian on this. You are on an M1 iMac, so it's not like you have a long history of macOS upgrades that may have gone awry with legacy items over time. In fact, these iMacs came with Big Sur, so you've never done an upgrade.

What I personally can tell you is that I have no issues with TIme Machine backups. Not on my Intel iMac running Monterey, nor my M1 MacBook Air running Ventura today. I never had problems when these had Big Sur also. Now... I use an old school Apple Time Capsule, so this is a variable that differs from your setup. Have you ever successfully done a backup to the drive you are using?

If I had to guess from the error message, it sounds like your Mac is going to sleep before the backup can complete, or the drive itself is going to sleep or ejecting. So, here's what I would try. Run an app that forces your Mac to stay awake while you have it at least do an initial backup. There are a few that do the job. Amphetamine is a popular one on the App Store that I have on hand. There's also a freebie called Caffeine that will do the job. Run the app; set it to keep your Mac awake; then manually run a Time Machine backup. Let's see if that gets the job done. If it does, then we have a clue as to what the problem is.
 
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I'm with Ian on this. You are on an M1 iMac, so it's not like you have a long history of macOS upgrades that may have gone awry with legacy items over time. In fact, these iMacs came with Big Sur, so you've never done an upgrade.

What I personally can tell you is that I have no issues with TIme Machine backups. Not on my Intel iMac running Monterey, nor my M1 MacBook Air running Ventura today. I never had problems when these had Big Sur also. Now... I use an old school Apple Time Capsule, so this is a variable that differs from your setup. Have you ever successfully done a backup to the drive you are using?

If I had to guess from the error message, it sounds like your Mac is going to sleep before the backup can complete, or the drive itself is going to sleep or ejecting. So, here's what I would try. Run an app that forces your Mac to stay awake while you have it at least do an initial backup. There are a few that do the job. Amphetamine is a popular one on the App Store that I have on hand. There's also a freebie called Caffeine that will do the job. Run the app; set it to keep your Mac awake; then manually run a Time Machine backup. Let's see if that gets the job done. If it does, then we have a clue as to what the problem is.
Yes I have done a backup from this Mac M1 with the same WD backup disc successfully every month since I bought the M1 and the same every month on my previous intel 21" Mac. I just sat here and watched a backup attempt and the Mac did not go to sleep. It appears to be backing up but then eventually stops and the log then shows the last back up as 15th October 2022. I always do these backups manually.
 
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The backup drive is not ejecting and stays alive with the light flashing throughout the process.
 
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Yes I have done a backup from this Mac M1 with the same WD backup disc successfully every month since I bought the M1 and the same every month on my previous intel 21" Mac. I just sat here and watched a backup attempt and the Mac did not go to sleep. It appears to be backing up but then eventually stops and the log then shows the last back up as 15th October 2022. I always do these backups manually.

Hmm. Interesting. Do you have any software running in the background that could be interfering? Any AV or "cleaning" software?

Try running Onyx's full suite of maintenance tools. Perhaps something is buggy in the cache. I would also try running EtreCheck to see if it can turn up any issues.

Also... Eclectic Light Company has a series of articles about Time Machine and troubleshooting. They may be worth a read. They also have some troubleshooting tools available. On the page linked below, scroll down to the Time Machine problems section for a list of their articles.


One other quick thought I had to try was a different drive, if you have one available.
 
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This is what I run using Onyx once a month prior to the backup. Please see photo attached. Should I tick the remaining unticked boxes? The ticked boxes was the default when I first installed Onyx a long time ago.
 

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This is what I run using Onyx once a month prior to the backup. Please see photo attached. Should I tick the remaining unticked boxes? The ticked boxes was the default when I first installed Onyx a long time ago.

I would do a run deleting the local Time Machine snapshots. I think at this point, they need to be tossed.
 
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Ran Onyx with the additional box ticked to remove local TM snapshots. No software running in the background that could be interfering. No "cleaning" software running, all done manually. Ran EtreCheck and no Major problems reported. Minor problems as per attachment. Also video attached showing that the progress bar blue on TM is blue throughout whereas when it was working it filled blue progressively as the backup progressed. My backup disc, is 6 years old but I've just connected to my MBA M1 and it is working and doing a backup at the moment with the blue line progressing. I'll try backing up the iMac again once the MBA is done.
 
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MBA backed up successfully, the iMac still won't backup. I'll have a read of the Ecleticlight article. Thanks.
 
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MBA backed up successfully, the iMac still won't backup. I'll have a read of the Ecleticlight article. Thanks.

You may need to scrap the old backup of your iMac and start from scratch. A simple way to do this without losing the old one is to rename the sparsebundle to something like "iMac-old". Then re-run the backup and a new one should be made (EDIT: this will NOT work! I reviewed an old post of mine where I had tried this and the renamed backup was still recognized. There is a file inside that identifies the Mac it belongs to, regardless of the name of the sparsebundle). Keep this in mind as a latter resort though. Maybe those articles will provide a solution. I'm otherwise out of ideas. I guess there's a non-zero chance that something about your install of macOS has broken. You may have to consider doing the upgrade to Ventura, or reinstalling Big Sur in place.

Bit of a side note.... I, as well as a lot of other people, had Time Machine issues with Monterey. I didn't have the same error message you are having though, and I don't recall what it was that finally got them working again (I think an update to Monterey) (EDIT: it was an update to Monterey that fixed it. And the problem was just on my M1 MBA, not my Intel iMac). I just did a quick re-read of my problems with this, and here's something to try. Boot into Safe Mode, then manually run a backup. See if that will complete.
 
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Just attempted a backup while in Safe Mode but still doesn't work. Maybe now time to upgrade to Ventura and see if it will then work.
 
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I updated to Ventura and my backups are now working. Backed up twice recently and all good. Thank you.
 

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This problem started on my M1 MBP after updating to Ventura 13.1, but I had no problems with 13.0 or 13.0.1. Both NAS and external backups were affected, and safe mode fixed the NAS backup but not the external USB backup. I’ll try safe mode again as the first time I ran the USB backup after the one to the NAS, perhaps running only the USB one will fix it.
 
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Just tried to do my monthly backup and the following occurred. "Time Machine did not finish backing up because some files were unavailable. Backups will resume when your Mac is unlocked". There is 1.84GB of unused space on my '2TB WD My Passport for Mac' backup disc. I am using Big Sur 11.7.1 on my 24" Mac M1. I did some google research but could not find an answer although lots of people apparently having the same problem. I have no idea what it means when it says "Backups will resume when your Mac is unlocked". Any suggestions welcome. Thanks.





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I am also having the same issue.
 
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@JeffL

I am not providing a solution, I'm afraid; but one piece of advice is this: rarely does an Upgrade cure a problem, sometimes it makes it worse.

As regards your problem: "some files were unavailable. Backups will resume when your Mac is unlocked" suggests that Time Machine cannot access some data - reasons unclear, but the remark about your Mac being locked - does a TM backup complete if you are working on the Mac as opposed to when it's asleep? And, of course, turning off the Mac would certainly stop a TM backup:);)
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Ian
thank you. this works for me.
 

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