How to Fix Time Machine That Won’t Back Up After Mojave Update?

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Apple’s Time Machine is a simple and convenient way to back up your files regularly. This amazing tool allows Mac users to restore specific files or the whole system from the macOS recovery environment. To eliminate delays and errors during the backup process, Apple has encoded several checks into the Time Machine. While Apple introduced them for a good reason, sometimes these checks can stall the backup process.

Some Mac users have complained that they cannot do a Time Machine backup on a network drive or an external HDD. A thread in Apple’s support forum shows that Time Machine doesn’t back up after the 10.14.4 update. With such a setback, some users may be hard-pressed to delay making changes to files because they may not be backed up properly.

For the most part, these Time Machine stuck issues are fairly common and easy to fix. But sometimes you need to dig deeper to figure out the problem – for instance, when you haven’t enabled FileVault yet Time Machine does not work and raises an error with File Vault. This post will offer solutions to fix Time Machine that cannot make backups in Mojave.

Why Time Machine Won’t Back Up After Upgrade to 10.14.4?

Since its release, several users have reported that the Mojave update disables Time Machine backups.

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Mojave introduced some updates aimed at strengthening the security of your OS, and they mandate apps to ask for permission before accessing data. However, these updates affect the functioning of the Time Machine utility.

When you make changes to files, Mojave logs those changes in an inventory system, which the OS generates as a segment of the file system. Time Machine uses a comparison system when making backups. This system checks the inventory of file changes in the file system and compares it to its own file inventory to form incremental backups. This operation is usually time-efficient, only that it is handling massive logs of file changes, which can stall the process.

Time Machine may not work because the disk encryption or decryption is not complete. When enabled, FileVault encrypts your disk to protect personal data from unauthorized access. It is a useful feature that most Mac users enable when they are first setting up their devices. Some users may enable the feature at a later time. When you enable FileVault at a later date, it may take a longer time to encrypt the hard drive because there could be more data at this stage. When the process is not complete, Time Machine will stall.

Antivirus can also co-opt the Time Machine backup volume and, as a result, stall the backup process in macOS 10.14.4.

Quick Fixes to Time Machine that Doesn’t Back Up after the 10.14.4 Update

Fix 1: Check If FileVault Encryption or Decryption Is Complete

Assume FileVault is enabled, and it is encrypting a disk, or the feature is turned off, and the disk is now being decrypted. You can check the FileVault encryption progress from the command line. To check the progress, please follow these steps:

  • Go to Applications > Utilities and look for Terminal app.
  • Open the app and enter this string: diskutil cs list.
  • The command output will show you ‘Conversion Progress’, where you will check the encryption status (or decryption progress if the disk is being decrypted).

In most cases, the progress is indicated as a percentage, but sometimes you may get a message that says, “Encrypting” or “Decrypting” depending on whether the disk is being encrypted or decrypted. The progress will help you know if you need to wait for the process to complete. If it is complete, then there could be other things causing the problem.

Fix 2: Reset SMC and NVRAM on Your Mac

Sometimes Time Machine won’t back up because of issues with System Management Controller (SMC) or settings stored in PRAM or NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory). To resolve the issue, reset both SMC and NVRAM. This fix has worked for some Mac users.

SMC Reset

Before you reset SMC, try to reboot your Mac through any of the following options:

  1. Hit Command + Option + Escape to force-quit the stalled backup process.
  2. Restart the Mac by going to Apple menu > Restart.
  3. Shut down the Mac via Apple menu > Shut Down. After that, turn on the Mac by pressing the power button.
  4. Press the power button and hold it down until the Mac shuts down, then turn it on by pressing the power button. You may lose unsaved work.

If the above tips don’t resolve the issue, follow these instructions to reset SMC:

  • Shut down the Mac.
  • Disconnect the power cable and remove the battery (if it is removable).
  • Press and hold the power button for some few seconds (5 – 10 seconds).
  • Reinstall the battery, and then press the power button to start the Mac.
  • If your battery is not removable, shut down the Mac by choosing Apple menu > Shut Down. Once it has shut down, press Shift + Control + Option and the power button, and then hold them for about 10 seconds.
  • Release the keys and turn on the Mac.


Follow these steps to reset NVRAM:

  • Shut down your Mac.
  • Press the power button to turn on the Mac, then press Command + Option + P + R immediately and hold them for about 20 seconds.
  • You can release the keys when you hear the second startup sound or when the Apple logo appears (for Mac computers with AppleT2 Security Chip).

Fix 3: Reset Time Machine

If the issue persists, perform these steps:

  • Select the Apple menu, then choose System Preferences > Time Machine.
  • Turn off Time Machine.
  • Go to Macintosh HD, then select Library > Preferences folder.
  • Erase: ‘’.
  • Open Time Machine from System Preferences.
  • Add your external drive as the backup destination for Time Machine.
  • Create a backup on that drive.

Final Wrap

Time Machine is reliable and convenient. It can also be a troublesome tool, especially after the Mojave update; the new OS may experience problems while working with Time Machine. We hope this article helped you to fix the issue. If you still have issues with Time Machine, get in touch with us.

Besides this, you can try other strategies to clear junk that may slow down your Mac. Unwanted files, log files, cache, irrelevant iOS updates, corrupt data files, and other space hogs can affect your Mac’s performance. Mac repair tool is an ideal choice to fix these issues.

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2 years ago

Thank you so much Jesse! Fix # 3 worked for me. I am so relieved! I haven’t been able to back up for about a year! I am using 10.15.7 and an iomgega backup drive. I am so grateful for your help. All the best wishes to you!

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