Ensure Backup Automatically is Enabled If Time Machine 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.


Graphical Method:
Perform the following steps to enable Time Machine automatic backup:

Open System Settings

Select General

Select Time Machine

Select Options...

Set Back up frequency to Automatically <every hour/every day/every week>

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

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

Profile Method:
Create or edit a configuration profile with the following information:

The PayloadType string is com.apple.TimeMachine

The key to include is Forced

The key must be set to:


Item Details


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

Plugin: Unix

Control ID: eaa8d898fafea5aac6c7895147c85e5c6eec6426a94666c4c7c5e4cac12ed0ff