Mac Mini as Home Server: What is a must do?

I was fortunate enough to pick up a new 2018 Mac Mini that will be connecting to a TV and using as a home + media server.

For those who use the Mini as the always-on hub, what are some of the most important things to know?

1 Like

I still have my 2012 mini, which I used as my main home machine from 2013-2017. Because I tended to use Chrome, which was a RAM hog (and had memory leaks) I periodically needed to restart the mini to regain/reset RAM.

Be sure to check out our recent episode on it, but here are some things you can do:

  • Set up Time Machine Server
  • Enable file and screen sharing
  • Check out Content Caching and iTunes content auto-downloading
  • Have it Backblaze all the things
  • Set up Dropbox/iCloud Drive/etc for file syncing, and for automating with Hazel

If you’re going to leave the TV on, I recommend having it go to screen saver quickly to avoid burn-in. I even have mine auto-rotate its desktop wallpaper, but that may be overkill.

1 Like

Install Plex Media Server

1 Like

A UPS is a good idea. I bought this CyberPower. Both @MacExpert and @anon41602260 recommnded a UPS for my Synology. Had our first power outage in 6 months a week after installing it.

It has connections for cable and network, which I’ve connected to isolate my cable modem. Of course lightning does what it wants, despite having been tamed by Steinmetz, but this should help with near misses.

Along with the great suggestion of UPS, I put all my minis on USB laptop pads. IStat menus shows a 15 degree drop. Heat is your enemy :slight_smile:

Install Hazel and Keyboard Maestro :slight_smile:

That is a very interesting suggestion. Many thanks! One question though: Do you have those pads on 24/7?

@ismh86, please could you elaborate a bit more on how you keep files encrypted in Dropbox? Do you encrypt them locally and upload them? Which tools do you use?


I don’t upload encrypted files to Dropbox.

These are some great tips, thank you all!

Can anyone speak to the Energy Saver and User settings? Do you set it to never sleep? Seems like a no brainer.

Does anyone use automatic login? I tried to set it up, but it was greed out.

What security settings are recommended for a Mini server setup?

Is your hard drive encrypted with FileVault? Automatic log in is not available when FileVault is on.

I thought you had mentioned that either on MPU or maybe another show. :grinning: thanks!!!

Yes - the “server” mini is on all the
time, and sits next to the Synology
NAS which also sits on a USB pad

No - the pad on the “desktop” mini
only powers up when using the desktop

Thanks for the response.

Do you have the pad the NAS and the server mini sit on always on?

Yes. As these are USB devices
(and plug into NAS and Mini USB ports)
when NAS and Mini are powered on, so
are the cooling pads. I leave NAS and
Mini powered on. “Desktop” Mini when used

(I also have this on all my networking equipment
in my closet, and have measured temperature
reduction of 25° F. Significant enough to make a difference, IMHO)

Completely neutral question: how do you know the reduction in temp is benefiting the hardware? What makes you believe the hardware cannot run properly at the pre-USB-things temp? Does that benefit outweigh the downside of added power draw? Is your closet just really cramped and the devices can’t get any airflow without external fans placed on them?

Well, I’m not saying that it cannot run properly.
I’m saying temperature reduction is a good thing.

This is a pretty simple way to get some :wink:

I setup a regular 2010 Mac mini as a Plex Sever. Not sure why, there is no need to download movies anymore with so many streaming services available. Maybe copy existing DVD collection?