Getting alerts about outdated Time Machine backups

Our household uses Apple’s Time Machine backup system as one of our backup methods. Various Macs are set to run their backups at night (we use TimeMachineEditor to schedule backups so they don’t take up local bandwidth or computing resources during the day) and everything goes to a Synology NAS (basically following the steps in this great guide from 9to5Mac).

But, Time Machine doesn’t necessarily complete a successful backup for every machine every night. Maybe the Mac is turned off or traveling away from home. Maybe the backup was interrupted for some reason. Maybe the backup destination isn’t on or working correctly. Most of these conditions can self-correct within a day or two.

But, I wanted to have a way to be notified if any given Mac had not successfully completed a backup after a few days so that I could take a look. If, say, three days go by without a successful backup, I start to get nervous. I also didn’t want to rely on any given Mac’s human owner/user having to notice this issue and remember to tell me about it.

I decided to handle this by having a local script on each machine send a daily backup status to a centralized database, accomplished through a new endpoint on my custom webhook server. The webhook call stores the status update locally in a database table. Another script runs daily to make sure every machine is current, and sends a warning if anyone is running behind.

Here are the details in case it helps anyone else.

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