Time Machine couldn’t complete the backup to “My Passport for Mac”

“Unable to complete backup. An error occurred while creating the backup folder.”
I keep getting this message when the time elapses for backup on my 2 TB My Passport for Mac external hard drive.

Do you see this error after your Mac has been asleep for a while? I’ve been having the same problem with a WD My Book 6TB. When the Mac wakes after sleeping for an hour or so, the external drive spins up and the partitions are shown in the finder, but they can’t be read/written to and Time Machine backups fail. I tried every combination of settings in Energy Saver screen, and also the WD Utilities to adjust the sleep timer of the drive. Nothing fixed it. You just have to force eject and reconnect the USB cable.

I was using Mojave, but other people reported the same issue after upgrading from El Capitan to Sierra. I’m still investigating but it seems that WD enclosures simply don’t work well with Macs, unfortunately.


Did you set any password protection on the passport?

You can try turning off the power nap in system preferences of your Mac. Maybe, when your Mac goes into sleep mode and you wake it up then it may show you this error.

I don’t have powernap option on my Macbook Pro 2011and I didn’t set any passwords.
Any other ideas?

I have the same issue as you. It started with Sierra. I fortunately don’t have to force it eject, I just reboot the machine and it reappears. Even if it worked, I don’t think forcing the drives to never sleep/rest is a good option.
Anyone know if other external options are having the same issue or is it just WD?

For me, the problem turned out to be the Western Digital utility software for MacOS. It turned out not to be compatible with Mojave, and uninstalling it (or rather, re-installing Mojave without the WD software) fixed all the problems I was having.

I receive the message that my passport for Mac backup failed, I then have to eject it and disconnect and then connect it back in order for it to work. I’ve spoke with WD about this and we walked though several solutions. I worked for a while then i was sent a replacement - that one worked for a while now it’s doing the same think. This is very frustrating, i had a previous WD hard drive that worked perfect until it ran out of space. I purchased this version thinking it was made specifically for Mac?

Hi Grahamstoneman. You said that you uninstalled the WD software to fix the problem. Does the drive still function fully after doing that? I am also running Mojave.

Anything further on this? I moved 2 3TB MyBooks from one 2012 Mac Mini setup (Sierra) to another (Mojave), and now I keep finding the WD drives absent when the Mojave Mini wakes up!

I’m having this same error message, also with a WD external drive connected to my 2018 MacBook Pro via a CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 hub, MacOS 10.13.6. First 5 backups went fine, then got the error message about not being able to create a backup folder. After that, I was not able to manually start the backup either. I am not using Time Machine Editor, though - just letting backups occur at the default interval. I poked around the Google and found this post: https://iboysoft.com/data-recovery/free-external-hard-drive-data-recovery.html

Finally, I get all lost data off the external hard drive. Hoping this will help you.