If you have an Airport Extreme and you’re thinking of using it along with an external USB drive as your primary Time Machine back-up – you may want to think again. Over at TidBITS there is an article confirming that Apple is officially not supporting the “feature” and even speculation that the feature itself is an accident.
Apparently, while using an external drive with the AirPort Extreme works after the current software update, it is erratic, and untrustworthy. There is speculation that the feature was left turned on by accident when the software update was released…if that’s the case, then those of you using it might find that you wake up one morning to a software update that disables the feature.
I think Apple’s on shaky ground with this one. Deliberately disabling or not supporting a feature for the purpose of selling another product is never well received by consumers, and Apple has had enough complaints with notebook issues as of late – they don’t need this too.
What they need to do is enable and support this feature Jobs promised users the first time he mentioned Time Machine in a Keynote. It’s the right thing to do, and they need to start doing more of that.
Have you used this feature of your Airport Extreme? Is it working? Sound off in the comments below.
Update: I just got off the phone with Apple Technical Support in regards to this issue. I asked them “Do you support Time Machine backups via a USB external hard drive using an Airport Extreme?” The response I received was “With the latest firmware update that feature has become available but we do not support it.”
I asked why, and the tech responded “Honestly, that’s just what I’ve been told. If I had to guess I would assume that it is because there are hundreds of external hard drives out there, and we don’t manufacture them, so we couldn’t support them all.”
If you don’t believe me, feel free to call them yourself. 1-800-APL-CARE (1-800-275-2273) if you live in the US. Click Here for international numbers.