May Day

This post is dealing with a technical issue regarding Mac OS X and Time Machine. I normally don’t write technical posts like this but I’m only providing it because I recently had a problem and trying to use Google to find a solution was a total bitch.

Sometime back in 2009 or 2010 I purchased a Time Capsule from the Apple Store because my then-husband and I wanted to make backups of our MacBooks and we wanted something that was big enough to accommodate the content of both of our laptops. But then life intervened with making numerous trips back and forth to Phoenix in the aftermath of the sudden death of my mother-in-law in March, 2010 followed by going through two falls in 2011 that knocked my hip replacement out of alignment so I needed hip revision surgery to fix that replacement followed by my husband’s sudden walkout three months after my hip surgery that resulted in a separation and divorce.

When my husband walked out, he left a lot of things behind. At one point he returned to the house we shared a few times to retrieved his stuff but he still left a lot of things behind. Among them was the original Time Capsule that I purchased for the two of us a few years earlier. When I found it during one of my house decluttering efforts, I was thrilled. (Due to tight finances stemming from the separation and divorce, there was no way I could afford to buy another Time Capsule unlike before.) I started using the Time Machine software to make backups from my own MacBook on to the Time Capsule and things were fine for several months.

One day, about two or three months ago, I attempted to make the usual backup only to find that the Time Machine software decided to demand a password. This floored me because I had never set it up with a password mainly because I’m the only person who’s using it. So I tried using the password that I have set up for my MacBook and it rejected it. Then I tried the password I use whenever I need to log on to iTunes, the App Store, or in general and it rejected that as well.

So I tried a Google search to a bunch of forums and websites and the big suggestion that I read at many of these places was to try the Reset button on the back of the Time Capsule. I did this and Time Machine still asked for the password. In desperation I upgraded the operating system from Yosemite to El Capitan (which had been out for a couple of months but I didn’t get around to upgrading it) and the Time Machine software was still asking for the password.

Finally I posted a note on the NCA-MUG e-mail list about my problem and someone came through with this answer. This person said that Apple has a default password for its Time Machine software and when it asks for the password, it means the original default password, which is not the same as whatever password you have for your MacBook.

Here is Apple’s default password for its Time Machine software: public

That’s right, the password is: public

No, seriously, the password is this word: public

So I typed that password and, lo and behold, the Time Machine software worked again and, once again, I can make backups on to the Time Capsule.

So if you’re ever into a similar situation where, out of the blue, the Time Machine software asks you for a password when you haven’t set one up and it doesn’t use the same password as your MacBook log-in password, just remember to type this default password and things will work fine: