Utility software

Has Time Machine's AirPort Disk use been grounded?

One of the most frequent questions we’ve seen from readers of late is “Will Leopard’s Time Machine feature support a hard drive connected to an AirPort Extreme Base Station?” It’s a good question, considering how convenient it would be to use an AirPort Disk—over your local network—as your backup volume. And until last week, the question had a clear answer: of course . In fact, Apple’s Time Machine Web page touted this very capability as recently as last Tuesday, as you can see from Google’s October 16 cache of the page:

Effortless meets wireless. With a hard disk connected to your AirPort Extreme Base Station, all the Macs in your house can use Time Machine to back up wirelessly. Simply select your AirPort Disk as the backup disk for each computer and the whole family can enjoy the benefits of Time Machine.

But if you look at the current Time Machine page on Apple’s Web site, that text is nowhere to be found. The closest thing is a sentence mentioning “another Mac running Leopard with Personal File Sharing.”

Is the option to use an AirPort Disk with Time Machine no longer in the cards? Given how specific the original text was, and the fact that it’s been purged from the new page while other text remains verbatim, the change doesn’t bode well for those hoping to use an AirPort Disk for wireless Time Machine backups. (And, indeed, the fine print on the previous Time Machine page noted that “All features referenced in the Mac OS X Leopard website are subject to change.”) Perhaps Apple decided that AirPort Disk performance wasn’t yet up to snuff, or some other issue spurred the removal of the text; if so, there’s always a chance the feature will find its way into a future Leopard update. On Friday, we’ll at least know if the feature has been removed from Mac OS X 10.5. 0 .

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