2.7.1 Ensure Backup Automatically is Enabled


Backup solutions are only effective if the backups run on a regular basis. The time to check for backups is before the hard drive fails or the computer goes missing. In order to simplify the user experience so that backups are more likely to occur, Time Machine should be on and set to Back Up Automatically whenever the target volume is available.

Operational staff should ensure that backups complete on a regular basis and the backups are tested to ensure that file restoration from backup is possible when needed.

Backup dates are available even when the target volume is not available in the Time Machine plist.

SnapshotDates = (

'2012-08-20 12:10:22 +0000',

'2013-02-03 23:43:22 +0000',

'2014-02-19 21:37:21 +0000',

'2015-02-22 13:07:25 +0000',

'2016-08-20 14:07:14 +0000'

When the backup volume is connected to the computer more extensive information is available through tmutil. See man tmutil


Backups should automatically run whenever the backup drive is available.


The backup will run periodically in the background and could have user impact while running.


Perform the following to enable Time Machine:
Graphical Method:

Open System Preferences

Select Time Machine

Verify that Time Machine is enabled

Select Back Up Automatically

Terminal Method:
Run the following command to enable automatic backups if Time Machine is enabled:

$ sudo /usr/bin/defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.TimeMachine.plist AutoBackup -bool true

Profile Method:

Create or edit a configuration profile with the key of com.apple.TimeMachine under PayloadContent

Add the key Forced

Set the key to the following:


See Also


Item Details


References: 800-53|CP-9, 800-53|CP-10, CSCv7|10.1

Plugin: Unix

Control ID: cb51eda1948d62d9b719870e1b28bdb0ab1f39fa26e77b71c46c6258cd6ad88d