[Resolved] Time Machine Corrupted, Missing or Lost Time Machine Backups 2020

Tracy King updated on Feb 21, 2020 to Mac File Recovery | How-to Articles


When Time Machine corrupts on your Mac, you may not be able to access nor find the backups created by Time Machine. If the backups are missing or even lost when Time Machine corrupts on Mac, apply the effective methods here to repair corrupted Time Machin and download the best Mac data recovery software to restore all lost or missing backups immediately.

Here is quick navigation for you to perfectly fix a corrupted or lost Time Machine backups without losing data. Directly jump to the part you're most interested:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Restore lost or missing Time Machine backups Method 1. Restore lost Time Machine backup with software...Full steps
Method 2. Repair unrecognized Time Machine disk or external hard drive...Full steps
Fix 2. Repair corrupted Time Machine Method 1. 3 quick accesses to fix corrupted Time Machine backup...Full steps
Method 2. Fix corrupted Time Machine with Terminal command...Full steps

Time Machine corrupted, what can I do to get the backups back?

"Hi, can you tell me how to get Time Machine backups back when Time Machine corrupted? My Time Machine keeps asking me to create new backup a few days earlier and today it stopped working. I tried to open the backup drive of Time Machine but it doesn't allow me to visit the drive.
What can I do to restore and get my backups? I have stored quite a lot of precious photos and videos in the backup drive. Do you know how to repair corrupted Time Machine drive and get backup data back? Please help me. Thank you very much.

Here are some basic symptoms that can help you identify Time Machine corruption:

  • Fail to complete Time Machine backup
  • Time Machine keeps asking to create new backups
  • Time Machine disk or external device becomes unrecognized
  • Missing or lost Time Machine backup

Time Machine corrupted.

EaseUS makes it simple for ordinary users to resolve the Time Machine corruption and backups lost problem. Read on and follow the next two parts to effortlessly solve these problems.

Part 1. Restore lost or missing Time Machine backups

When you cannot access to Time Machine or Time Machine corrupted, you are highly recommended to get backup data back first. How? 

Method 1. Restore lost Time Machine backup from Mac disk or external hard drive

If the Time Machine backup disk can be opened but nothing appears, the best way is to scan and restore all lost Time Machines' Backups.backupdb files. Here we'd like to recommend you to try EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac which supports users to restore all lost data from different situations within only 3 steps. Free download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac and restore Time Machine backups now:

Step 1. Select the disk location (it can be an internal HDD/SSD or a removable storage device) where you lost data and files. Click the Scan button.

select the location where data lost and click scan

Step 2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will immediately scan your selected disk volume and display the scanning results on the left pane.

scan the selected disk to find lost data on your Mac

Step 3. In the scan results, select the file(s) and click Recover Now button to have them back.

click recover now button to recover lost data on your Mac

Method 2. Repair unrecognized Time Machine disk or external hard drive

When the Time Machine backup disk or external hard drive becomes unrecognized, you can first mount it on Mac and then run First Aid on Time Machine disk with disk utility.

  • Step 1: Connect the Time Machine backup external hard drive to Mac. Launch Disk Utility, check external hard drive at the left panel.
  • You'll see that the external hard drive is greyed out, marked as untitled. (Untitled means unmounted on Mac computer.)
  • Unmount external hard drive.
  • Step 2: Select the untitled external hard drive and click the "Mount" button from the Disk Utility bar.
  • Unmount external hard drive and make it recognizable.
  • Step 3: Select Time Machine drive at drive level on the left panel of Disk Utility and run First Aid.
  • Repair corrupted time machine.
  • Step 4: Select Time Machine drive at volume level and run First Aid.
  • Fix Time Machine corruption.

Wait for the process completes, check if Mac computer can recognize your backup disk and open it in Time Machine again. If Time Machine still doesn't function properly, read one and follow Part 2 with provided methods to fix this issue.

Part 2. Repair corrupted Time Machine

According to some professional users, when Time Machine corrupted, it can be fixed by commanding some orders on Mac.

3 quick accesses to fix corrupted Time Machine backup

  • If Time Machine keeps asking you to create new backups, click Create new backup to start the new backup then. So that it can work smoothly later.
  • Restart Time Machine several times may also help. You may need to switch Time Machine to On-Off-On and then reboot the Time Machine again.
  • Another solution to repair Time Machine is to set up a new external hard drive with Time Machine as a backup drive.

Fix corrupted Time Machine with Terminal command

If Time Machine stops responding or even not working on Mac, to repair the corrupted Time Machine becomes tough yet still resolvable with Terminal command. 

Before starting the process, You should stop Time Machine: Time Machine Preferences > Toggle Time Machine 'OFF'. 
  • Step 1: Open Terminal on Mac and type: $ sudo su - and hit Return.
  • Step 2: Type: $ chflags -R nouchg "/Volumes/ and hit Return.
  • If you don't know the TM name, go to Time Machine Prefernces and check out. Or type: $ ls "/Volumes//" and hit Return.
  • Step 3: Type: $ hdiutil attach -nomount -readwrite -noverify -noautofsck "/Volumes//.sparsebundle" and hit Return.
  • Step 4: Type the below command and hit Return each time:
    /dev/disk5 GUID_partition_scheme
    /dev/disk5s1 EFI
    /dev/disk5s2 Apple_HFS
  • Step 5: Type: $ fsck_hfs -drfy /dev/diskxs2 and hit Return. After this, if you receive 'The volume was repaired successfully', congratulations.
    But if Terminal warns you 'The volume could not be repaired', relax and continue with next command.
  • Step 6: Type: $ fsck_hfs -p /dev/diskxs2 and hit Return.
  • Step 7: Type: $ fsck_hfs -drfy /dev/diskxs2 and hit Return. Wait for the process to complete.
  • Step 8: Type: $ vi "/Volumes//.sparsebundle/com.apple.TimeMachine.MachineID.plist" and hit Return.
    Change the value of integer from 2 to 0 within that file.


This page offers reliable tips and methods to help you resolve the issue of Time Machine corruption and losing Time Machine backups. If you have further Time Machine problems, relax and the below tips may help:


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Frequently Asked Questions

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"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

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"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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