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Fix Time Machine Stuck on Preparing Backup on macOS 10.14

The macOS 10.14 time machine issue compromises the backing up process in your Mac due to time machine stuck in preparing backup in macOS 10.14. For you to have a smooth sailing user experience as you use your Mac, there must be a backup application like Time Machine that is time efficient and reliable. However if this app cannot work as expected you will definitely wonder what to do when time machine is stuck on “preparing backup” in macOS 10.14. This article can help you fix time machine when stuck on “preparing backup” in macOS 10.14 through various relevant solutions.

Fixing Time Machine Stuck on Preparing Backup in macOS 10.14

As you make changes to your Mac files, the operating system logs such changes into the inventory system created as a component of the files system. Therefore, the time machine backs ups your data as it works with the comparison system which checks the file changes in the file system inventory and its own inventory for the formation of incremental backups. The issue of time machine being stuck up comes in when the backup process faces some challenges, like antivirus interference or stalling because the Spotlight is indexing the volume of the Time Machine. When Time Machine is freezing, error messages appear to notify the occurrence of a problem.

Inconveniences Caused

Time machine stuck in preparing backup in macOS 10.14 is an issue that can cause a lot of inconveniences. Time Machine is meant to prevent loss of your Mac’s data. Therefore, when an issue interferes with this process, you may lose some data, which might further cause problems in your work. These problems arise while the application is preparing to back up your data. The problems become worse when there are massive logs of file changes involved. It takes longer time to effect the changes made to the files, and if the app is completely frozen, the changes will never be backed up and thus be lost. The new added files may as well disappear, taking you back to where you began. Therefore, if the time machine operations are stuck, you do not enjoy the speedy streaks of the operation and may lose information. Hence, you need to fix time machine when it freezes on “preparing backup.”


There are various ways to fix time machine when stuck on “preparing backup” in macOS 10.14 and they include the following steps;

1. Quit the backup process

Since there no successful progress going on, you must quit the backup process by stopping it. The “Time Machine” screen contains the stuck progress bar named “Preparing backup.” At the end of this progress bar, find the “X” icon. You must click on it in order to stop the backup progress. As soon as the “Preparing backup” and progress bar characters disappear, you can be confident that the stuck Time Machine backup is successfully terminated. This initial step will bring you a step closer to fix time machine when it freezes on “preparing backup. 

2. Check on the antivirus software

The antivirus software that is installed in your Mac needs some checking too. It could be that this application is interfering with permitting to conduct Time Machine backup volume and thus a reason behind the time machine stuck in preparing backup in macOS 10.14. So, you should definitely ensure that the antivirus software has configurations that exclude Time Machine backup volume. The folder concerned and deserves checking is “Backups.backupd.”

3. Discard the .inProgress file

Checking on the antivirus software is not enough, so removing the “.inProgress” file is necessary to fix time machine when stuck on “preparing backup” in macOS 10.14. Follow this procedure to discard this file;

Go to the Finder application

  • Aces the Time Machine drive
  • Browse to the “Backups.backupd” folder, ensure to open the folder
  • You can sort the internal files by “Date Modified”
  • Alternatively, you can look for the file directly with the “.inProgress” file extension
  • Delete the file

4. Reboot Mac

After the deleting of .inProgress file, it is highly essential that you reboot your Mac to move a step ahead to fix time machine when stuck on “preparing backup” in macOS 10.14. The rebooting process must take place with the Time Machine drive connected. Before rebooting, you need to ensure that all other running programs are exited in the correct way. The edited files need to be saved in advance before exiting to. If not, you are at a risk of losing data or experiencing some corruption unexpectedly.

5. Retry using Time Machine again

After the completion of the reboot process of your Mac, you are now in the clear to try using Time Machine again and confirm disappearance of the problem. To do so, simply turn on Time Machine again and start the backup process normally again. If you have already sorted the problem causing time machine stuck in preparing backup in macOS 10.14, then Time Machine will definitely function properly without exhibiting any freezing in the “preparing backup” progress.

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time machine stuck on mac

time machine stuck on mac
Home > How-Tos > Fix Time Machine Stuck on Preparing Backup on macOS 10.14
Posted by to How-Tos
Published: Sep 13,2016 18:20 pm / Updated: Nov 15,2016 17:54 pm
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