Time Machine Freezes on “Preparing Backup” – How to Fix

Time Machine sounds very good to ears, however, the feature is not at build for iDevices, but for macOS. Time Machine can let you back up files on Mac like apps, music, photos, and documents, that weren’t part of macOS installation. No need to worry about the backup when Time Machine is enabled, as it will automatically back up your Mac Hourly, daily, and weekly.

A copious amount of users have encountered issues related to the Time Machine, the backup gets stuck on “Preparing Backup”. As a result, the process stuck and won’t move further. Here’s how to fix the issue.

Is Really Time Machine Stuck on Preparing Backup?

If you’re victimized with the Time Machine “Preparing Backup” stuck, then there’re few things you need to know why Time Machine takes a longer time than regular. It depends on the speed of your system and also, the size of the backup.

Time Machine Freezes On “preparing Backup” – How To Fix

If you accidentally, or in frustration canceled the process and try to back up again, it could take more time. It might possible that you’ve not backup your Mac for a long time. So it’s time recommended that, let the Time Machine backup process continues for at least for couple of hours or more.

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In the worst-case scenario, if the process is stuck overnight, then you should follow the steps mentioned below.

How to Fix Time Machine Freezes on “Preparing Backup”

To fix Time Machine Freezes on “Preparing Backup”, users needs to do the following:

Step 1: Cancel the Current Time Machine Backup

Time Machine Freezes On “preparing Backup” – How To Fix

Just, cancel the current Time Machine Backup, here’s how to do that:

  • Click on the Time Machine icon located at the top menu bar. Or Apple menu > System Preferences > Time Machine.
  • Click on the “X” icon present just next to the progress bar to cancel the backup process, and wait till the backup process stop.

Step 2: Search and Delete the “.inProgess” File

Here you need to delete the “inProgress” files present on your backup drive.

Time Machine Freezes On “preparing Backup” – How To Fix
  • Visit Finder and select the Time Machine drive.
  • Search and click on the folder “Backups.backupd“.
  • You might need to click on the folder that has the name of your computer.
  • Search the file that ends with the .inProgress extension.
  • Delete the file.
  • Also, make your trash empty.

In case if don’t find the file, go in to list view, and the file name will be there on the current date in year-month-day format. It will also have a six-digit timestamp in 24 hours time clock.

For example, look at the above picture that has May 17, 2018 at 5:53:44 PM, which is in year+month+day+time (yyy+mm+dd++hhmmss).

Reboot your Mac

let the Time Machine drive be connected to your Mac, and reboot the system.

Time Machine Freezes On “preparing Backup” – How To Fix
  • Click on the Apple Logo located at the top-left of the top menu bar.
  • Click on the Restart.
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Once done, macOS’s Spotlight start re-indexing your Time Machine Drive. The improper re-indexing may have caused the backup stuck issue, earlier.

To know the progress, do the following things:

  • Press Command + Space Bar, to access Spotlight search.
  • Type the file name into the search bar.
  • If the indexing is still going on, it will show a progress bar or might be indicated in another way.

Step 4: Proceed with Normal Time Machine Backup

Time Machine Freezes On “preparing Backup” – How To Fix

Just try to perform the backup as usual, here’s how to do that:

  • Click on the Time Machine icon located at the top menu bar. Or, visit Apple Menu > System Preferences > Time Machine.
  • Click on Back Up Now.

The backup process will continue like usual, you will get to see “Preparing Backup”, but it will take no time or stuck like before, just wait for the process to complete.

What if Nothing Works?

If the solutions mentioned above won’t work out for you, then you have to perform some extra actions. You can back up your Mac to a new external hard drive or maybe to Time Capsule. Let the backup take time to finish.

In the end, nothing works, then you have to contact Apple Support or visit Apple authorized service center.

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