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Accessing Your ChronoAgent Across the Internet Using Back to My Mac

1. INTRODUCTION

2. CHRONOAGENT MAC

3. CHRONOSYNC MAC

4. CREATE CONNECTION PROFILE

5. SET UP TASK

6. CONSIDERATIONS

7. WHEN THINGS GO WRONG

TECHNICAL SUPPORT

1. INTRODUCTION [top]

NOTE: macOS Mojave has dropped support for the Back to My Mac iCloud feature and, thus, this tech-note will not work for Mojave users. You can still take advantage of Dynamic DNS and UPnP support in ChronoAgent to access your ChronoAgent over the internet.

If you have an iCloud account, it’s easy to setup your ChronoAgent Mac to be accessible by other Macs across the internet using the Back to My Mac service. Back to My Mac is an iCloud feature in MacOS that lets you remotely connect to your computer from another Mac. It uses Wide-Area Bonjour to securely discover services across the Internet and automatically configure ad hoc, on-demand, point-to-point encrypted connections between computers. Using it requires you to log into iCloud using the same Apple ID and password across all Mac computers you want accessed remotely.

In general, if you can setup port forwarding or your router supports Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), it's better to use the WAN Access features in the ChronoAgent Preference Pane to gain access to your ChronoAgent. If you find those settings daunting, or your router does not have Port Forwarding or UPnP capabilities, then Back to My Mac is the way to go.

This guide assumes you've setup ChronoAgent and are familiar with its basics.

2. CHRONOAGENT MAC [top]

The first step of this tutorial is to turn on Back to My Mac on your ChronoAgent Mac. To do this:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Choose 'iCloud'
  3. Find 'Back to My Mac' in the list and click on the checkbox to enable it.
Turn on Back to My Mac

If your router doesn't support port forwarding and/or UPnP, Back to My Mac will warn you about a sub-optimal configuration. It will still work, however, only with lower performance.

Back to My Mac Warning

3. CHRONOSYNC MAC [top]

Now you need to turn on Back to My Mac on your ChronoSync Mac. This will most likely be your laptop, but it could be any kind of Mac, even a desktop at another physical location. Follow the same instructions for your ChronoSync Mac as you did for your ChronoAgent Mac. These instructions are in the previous step, STEP 2. CHRONOAGENT MAC.

4. CREATE CONNECTION PROFILE [top]

The next step is to launch ChronoSync and create a connection profile that uses Back to My Mac. The process is identical to creating a ChronoAgent profile.

  1. Open Connections Preferences.
  2. Click on the '+' button to add a new connection profile.
  3. Give this profile a unique name.
  4. Select 'ChronoAgent' as your Connection Type.
Create connection profile

You will see the ChronoAgent listed by name with "(xxxx.members.btmm.icloud.com)" appended to it. If you happen to be on the same local network as your ChronoAgent, you'll see another entry for the agent without the extra info appended to its name. That's the local network version of your agent and should be used in local-only configurations.

  1. Select your ChronoAgent Mac with the Back to My Mac connection.
  2. Enter your username and password credentials.
  3. 'Test' your connection.
  4. Click on 'Next.'

Even if you are on the same local network as your ChronoAgent, the process will likely be much slower, especially if your router doesn’t support UPnP.

General connection profile panel
  1. Setup the Advanced panel. The following settings are recommended:
  • 'Data Compression' ON ('Fast' for fast internet connection, 'High' for slow internet connection).
  • 'Accessed on WAN' ON.
  • 'Attempt reconnect on drops' ON.
  • 'Force all data to be encrypted' ON.
Advanced connection profile panel
  1. Lastly, map users as necessary.
  2. 'Save' the connection profile.
Mappings connection profile panel

5. SET UP TASK [top]

The last step of this tutorial is to create a backup task with your newly created Back to My Mac connection as a target.

  1. Open a new synchronizer task. This can be done in the ChronoSync Organizer via the 'Create a new synchronizer task' button.
  2. Name your synchronizer task.
  3. Select your source target. This is what you want to backup to the newly created Back to My Mac connection.
  4. For your destination target, choose the connection profile that was just created from the 'Connect to' menu.
  5. Select your destination target, a destination drive/folder as if it were locally connected.
Synchronizer task Setup panel

Your task is now set up to backup files to your Back to My Mac connection!

6. CONSIDERATIONS [top]

  • Performing sync/backup operations over an internet connection is always slower than a local network. The slower the internet connection, the more sluggish it will seem. Patience is a virtue!
  • Your Back to My Mac connection profile will still work when you are on the same local network as your other computer. This is both a good and bad thing. Good in that you don't have to think/worry about it. Bad in that your Back to My Mac connections could be significantly slower (especially if your router doesn't support UPnP) than a local connection. It might be better to also create a local connection profile and setup a different task document to use when you are locally connected. You can configure one task and then 'duplicate' it in the ChronoSync Organizer, then change the connection profile used for the second task document but keeping all the other settings intact. Then use the appropriate task depending on whether you can locally connect or not.
  • If your router supports UPnP, and you have no problem setting up a dynamic DNS account, following the steps presented in the Accessing Your ChronoAgent Mac Across the Internet guide will always yield better performance than using Back to My Mac at the expense of being more difficult to configure.
  • Any computer you want to reach must be signed in to Back to My Mac using the same iCloud account as the ChronoSync Mac. This precludes different users from accessing the same Mac this way unless they all are signed in to the same iCloud account.

7. WHEN THINGS GO WRONG [top]

If you follow this guide to setup a Back to My Mac connection profile, things should work without issue. However, we live in an imperfect world and sometimes things just don't work out as expected. If you encounter any problems following this tutorial, here's some tips that may help you get back on track:

TECHNICAL SUPPORT [top]

Contact our technical support team and just ask! We don’t mind — we're here to help!