Finding the Perfect NAS to Backup Your Mac

Hey there! If you‘re a Mac user looking for a reliable storage solution to backup all your important files – photos, videos, documents and more – then getting a quality network attached storage (NAS) device is one of the smartest moves you can make.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll tell you everything you need to know about picking the best NAS for backing up your Mac so you can protect your data with room to grow. You‘ll learn:

  • What a NAS is and key reasons to use one
  • How to compare core NAS features to meet your needs
  • 5 top-rated NAS recommendations for different budgets
  • Step-by-step guidance to get up and running fast
  • Real world insight into using a NAS for awesome Mac backups

Let‘s dive in!

What is Network Attached Storage (NAS) and Why Should Mac Users Care?

Think of a NAS device like your own personal cloud storage server. It‘s an external hard drive that connects directly to your home WiFi router so any PC or mobile device on your network can wirelessly store, access and backup files.

Unlike direct attached drives or public clouds, network attached storage offers Mac users some cool benefits:

Total Data Control – You manage the NAS on your private network for top notch security and access control. No third party can touch your data.

Killer Capacities – Modern NAS enclosures pack multiple high capacity drives. We‘re talking terabytes of storage – plenty of room for all your Mac‘s pics, videos, iTunes libraries and more!

Auto Backup Awesomeness – NAS operating systems make backing up your Mac a breeze with Time Machine support and syncing capabilities that run automatically in the background. Set it and forget it!

Access Anywhere Convenience – With NAS access over WiFi, ethernet or the internet, you can wirelessly connect from any smartphone, tablet or computer to reach your files from anywhere – home or away.

So if you want one central place to store all your important files and have automated, rock solid backup for your Mac, then a quality NAS is your ticket.

Now let‘s explore exactly what features you need to focus on when picking the right NAS hardware for your needs…

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a NAS for Your Mac

With a bunch of NAS brands and models available featuring different specifications that support varying usage needs, it‘s essential to nail down a few core factors that impact functionality based on your requirements:

Storage Capacity

The physical data capacity offered out of the box and potential for future expansion are pivotal considerations. More drive bays and support for higher capacity drives equals greater storage potential. Many systems also allow external storage to be added as needed.

Hardware Performance

When streaming 4K videos or running intensive backups, processing grunt matters. Faster NAS box speeds ensure snappier operation even with heavier user loads. Processor cores, RAM size and drive connectivity types (SATA HDD vs SSD caching) all play a role.

Wired + Wireless Connectivity

Look for gigabit ethernet ports for wired networking and 802.11ac WiFi support for ultimate flexibility accessing your NAS from PCs and mobile devices. Multiple ethernet ports also allow for link aggregation and faster transfers. Peripheral ports like USB 3.0 add external storage options. 10GbE ethernet enables next-gen networking down the road.

Security Features

From encrypted hard drives to closed operating systems that restrict unauthorized access attempts, advanced security features are pivotal for protecting sensitive data. Make sure remote access and end user permissions are also easy to manage.

Reliability + Warranties

Any NAS running 24/7 needs hardened hardware and optimized software resistant to crashes plus fault tolerance via RAID. Longer warranties also offer more protection in case issues pop up. Multi-year plans are preferred for peace of mind.

Use the chart below to compare top NAS options across these key categories that directly impact real world performance and protection for your Mac setup:


By evaluating models based on your capacity requirements, processing needs, network infrastructure and backup priorities, it becomes much clearer which NAS system best aligns with your environment.

Next let‘s explore 5 top recommendations I‘ve researched…

The 5 Best NAS Systems to Backup Your Mac

Here are my top NAS picks for supporting Mac users across a range of situations – from simple backup to max capacity flexible storage and everything between!

Best Overall: WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra (8TB)

Key Specs:

  • 8TB Total Storage (2 x 4TB HDDs)
  • 1.3GHz Dual-Core Intel CPU
  • 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Up to 28TB Capacity
  • USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet
  • 3 Year Limited Warranty

For its well-rounded mix of performance, capacity and easy connectivity all offered at a reasonable price point, I recommend the WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra NAS as the best overall Mac backup solution.

It comes preconfigured with two 4TB Red hard drives for 8TB combined storage capacity – plenty for most users‘ needs. The nice thing is you can always expand later by popping in higher capacity drives. WD even supports up to 14TB drives for a total potential max capacity around 28TB. Awesome!

Processing and performance specs are also solid thanks to its 1.3GHz dual-core chip and 1GB of DDR3 RAM which handle demanding multi-tasking and streaming needs without hiccups.

For connectivity, you have a fast gigabit ethernet port for wired access plus two USB 3.0 ports for adding more external drives whenever needed. Supports all modern RAID modes (0, 1, 5, 10) for optimized performance or redundancy per your needs.

Easy network setup, intuitive web access dashboard and proven WD reliability round out this excellent NAS as a long-term Mac backup solution.

Click here to buy the My Cloud EX2 Ultra on Amazon

Best Budget NAS: TerraMaster F2-210 (2 Bay)

Key Specs:

  • 2 Drive Bays
  • Realtek Quad Core 1.4GHz CPU
  • 1GB DDR4 RAM
  • 2 x 2TB HDDs Included
  • AES 256-bit Encryption
  • 2 Year Limited Warranty

If you‘re looking for the most affordable yet reliable NAS to handle basic Mac Time Machine backups and media storage duties, the TerraMaster F2-210 2-bay NAS is your best buy.

For under $200, it comes loaded with two 2TB hard drives for 4TB combined capacity out of the box. Its Realtek quad core processor zips along while handling multiple clients accessing files concurrently thanks to 1GB of speedy DDR4 RAM onboard.

Dual gigabit LAN ports allow for impressive transfer rates, plus there‘s a USB 3.0 port and USB copy button for quickly dumping data from external drives. AES-256 bit data encryption keeps your backup contents secure.

Easy to setup and manage, the F2-210 packs excellent value to become your Mac‘s backup buddy on budget.

Click here to buy the TerraMaster F2-210 on Amazon

Most Secure NAS: Synology DS220j (Diskless)

Key Specs:

  • Scales Up to 32TB
  • AES-NI Hardware Encryption Engine
  • Btrfs File System Support
  • Synology Hybrid RAID Data Protection
  • Works with Synology C2 Cloud Backup
  • 2 Year Limited Warranty

For the ultimate in lock down security and storage flexibility, I recommend the Synology DS220j for Mac users dealing with sensitive files.

This innovative 2-bay NAS comes diskless to allow customization – start small with a single hard drive then scale up to massive 32TB capacity over time. Its powerful encryption engine secures every bit written to storage without performance lag, thanks to dedicated hardware acceleration.

You also gain cutting-edge Btrfs file system support for advanced data integrity checking and resilience to bit rot plus optimization for SSD caching drives. Synology Hybrid RAID auto-protects against drive failures while maximizing usable space.

Use the intuitive DSM OS dashboard to finely tune user access permissions from anywhere. And layer on extra offsite backup to Synology‘s own C2 cloud service for the ultimate in redundancy.

With uncompromising security technologies protecting vulnerable Mac data, this feature-packed unit is well worth the small premium.

Click here to buy the Synology DS220j on Amazon

Best High Capacity NAS: QNAP TS-832X (Diskless)

Key Specs:

  • 8 Drive Bays
  • Up to 128TB Raw Capacity
  • AMD RX-421BD Quad Core 2.1GHz
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • PCIe Slot for 10GbE
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps Type-C
  • 3 Year Limited Warranty

When you have massive storage appetite backing up media libraries or sensitive financial data, the top-of-the-line QNAP TS-832X has you covered with jaw dropping capacity potential.

This premium 8-bay NAS comes empty to pack your choice of drives. At max supported 16TB per bay, you‘re looking at a mountainous 128TB total storage pool! Speedy quad core processor and abundant RAM kicks throughput into overdrive.

Future focused PCIe slot for networking cards, fast 10Gbps USB-C and HDMI 2.0 make it remarkably expandable. Handles virtually any NAS workload thanks to QTS operating system flexibility. Exceptional 5-year warranty for peace of mind.

If you demand no compromise NAS power for sensitive Mac backups, the TS-832X delivers in droves! Budget additional cost for monster hard drives.

Click here to buy the QNAP TS-832X on Amazon

Best All-Round Value NAS: Synology DS220+ (Diskless)

Key Specs:

  • 2 Bays with 32TB Max Total
  • Intel Celeron Quad Core 2.0GHz CPU
  • 2GB DDR4 RAM
  • Dual Gigabit LAN with Link Aggregation Support
  • PCIe Slot for 10GbE or SSD Cache Acceleration
  • Works with Synology Active Backup Suite Tools
  • 2 Year Limited Warranty

For a premium 2-bay NAS rocking excellent computing capabilities that punches way above its size, the Synology DS220+ is my top pick for power users.

Despite compact form factor, you can cram two massive 16TB drives inside for up to 32TB raw capacity! Quad core Intel processor chews through intensive workloads aided by 2GB of RAM. Dual LAN ports can be linked for boosted throughput, made even faster with add-in 10GbE card down the line.

Easy connect USB 3.2 Gen 1 keeps legacy gear access simple. Synology‘s outstanding DSM 7.0 OS centralizes Mac backup and synchronizations workflows across platforms for turnkey experience. Topped off by excellent two year warranty.

For the ultimate balance of value, performance and protection safeguarding your Mac, this mighty machine impresses big time! Budget extra cost for drives.

Click here to buy the Synology DS220+ on Amazon

Step-by-Step Guide to Get Your NAS Running

I wanted to briefly run through the basic process to get your network attached storage configured and backing up your Mac pronto because it‘s actually straight forward for even non-techies!

Here are the quick steps:

  1. Physically connect your NAS box to your home router using the included ethernet cable. Turn the power on to boot it up. LEDs will indicate when ready.

  2. For diskless models, carefully insert your chosen hard drive(s) securely following the instructions to populate your NAS enclosure‘s drive bays.

  3. On your Mac, open Finder and look for the NAS IP address under Shared devices on the left sidebar. Click to access the web dashboard.

  4. The dashboard will guide you to set an admin password, enable security features, create shared folders and map NAS drives to your Mac. Very intuitive even for beginners!

  5. Once configured, the NAS storage will always appear in Finder. Use Time Machine or drag-n-drop to backup your important Mac files automatically for continuous protection. Pretty painless process!

The bottom line is that modern NAS devices are designed for simple network integration right out of the box. In most cases, default settings have you covered so beginners can be up and running in under 10 minutes without any advanced network know-how. Just follow the prompts!

What It‘s Like Using a NAS to Backup and Access Files

Once smoothly integrated onto your home network, your NAS quietly hums along in the background providing always-on storage capacity exactly where you need it – right on your Mac!

Thanks to streamlined Time Machine compatibility and backup software built into NAS operating systems, protecting your important files becomes second nature. Just set backup schedules and let it roll.

Shared NAS folders surface right within Finder so you can directly access files as needed for edits or transfers. Drag-drop to public or private storage folders on the NAS just like you would with Google Drive or DropBox. Super easy!

Based on your connectivity method, whether wired ethernet or WiFi, plus installed apps like Plex, you‘ll enjoy wire-free access to stored files from all registered devices like iPhones, iPads and more. Media streams smoothly even over the internet when away from home. Sweet!

So in daily use, your NAS should fade seamlessly into the background as a reliable always-on data protection and access solution for your Mac. Set it and forget it!

Let‘s Recap Key Takeaways…

We‘ve covered quite a lot of ground here! Let‘s quickly recap what you now know:

  • A NAS makes backing up your Mac automatic while providing convenient access to your files from anywhere
  • Focus on storage capacity, speeds, connectivity, security and reliability when comparing options
  • Leading NAS brands like WD, Synology, TerraMaster and QNAP offer superb solutions
  • Getting up and running only takes a few quick steps even for beginners
  • Once set up, your NAS quietly protects files in the background while you work worry-free!

I hope this guide has demystified the process of finding an awesome NAS tailored to your Mac backup needs and budget. Let me know if any other questions come up!

Now it‘s time pull the trigger on one of these excellent NAS systems so you too can benefit from automated Mac protection and anywhere access. Here‘s to your data safety and improved productivity!

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