Repurpose a Second MacMini

I just bought a shiny, new 27” iMac and it is amazing!

Now I have the task to figure out what to do with the 2012 Mac mini I was using. The Mac mini now has a factory spinning disk (128GB) and 1TB internal spinning disk and currently, it is running Mavericks (cause that is what I had lying around).

I already have a 2012 MacMini as a home-based file and web server (brought it back from Macstadium).

I’m not quite sure what to do with a second Mini.

Any thoughts are appreciated.


Sell it to somebody who wants a home-based file and web server? :wink:

Unless there’s something you’re doing on that server that loads it down significantly, in which case you could split the workload out.

Or if you find somebody who needs an extra computer during this COVID craziness, the 2012 is absolutely still capable as a web browsing / word processing / basic machine. It rolls forward to at least Catalina, so it’s still very current software-wise.

1 Like

If you’re not already doing so, you could set it up as a Time Machine server.

1 Like

This is what I did with my Mac mini which “retired” from MacStadium.

I have it serving not only as a Time Machine server, but also a location for Arq as well.

It has a bunch of multi-TB drives attached to it, so it has plenty of storage (more than my Synology had, back when I had one of those).

The only thing I still need to setup is iMazing for local backups of our iOS devices.

p.s. - that Mac mini should still run High Sierra which is still supported by a lot of software.

1 Like

I’ve bumped it back up to High Sierra since posting this. I think I will keep it there for the time being and continue to run it headless.

It’s a very capable machine which is why I don’t want to see it sitting on a shelf. So, I thought about maybe picking up some drives and an enclosure from OWC and making it a backup machine.

I keep looking at a Synology, but I can use this instead and the plus is it’s a Mac!

1 Like

Would you mind sharing your Arc and Time machine setup? Am I overthinking it?

Managing a Mac is much nicer than managing a Synology.

There’s not much to share, so maybe you’re overthinking it, I’m not sure. I’ll give you the info that seems relevant, and if you have questions, feel free to ask more specifics:

Time Machine Server setup

Stephen wrote How to Set up Time Machine Server – 512 Pixels which walks you through the process of setting up Time Machine. That’s what I use because I can never remember where this setting is hidden.

(Pro Tip: Be sure to name the Time Machine folder something descriptive. I called mine “MacBook Pro - Catalina”. That way if you are backing up several Macs to this one Mac, you can tell which folder goes to which Mac.)


I’m also using Arq to backup my Home directory, mostly because Time Machine regularly sh*ts the bed and makes me start over again, and Arq does not. And I have an Arq license, so I might as well use it.

Also, Arq works over the Internet and Time Machine doesn’t (or at least not well).

1 Like

Thanks, TJ. That’s helpful


I wouldn’t retire it and use it as a file/backup/Plex server. Can be done headless and external drives are cheap. When it eventually fails, you can use the data and switch to another Mini or main brand NAS which can do the same things.

I am with TJ, that Time Machine should not be your only Home folder backup you have locally. I use 2 clones (1 on prem, swapped with one off-prem,) Time machine and Backblaze and have also got backup folders in iCloud and Dropbox

One of the main reasons I still run a machine in MacStadium as it gives me an always on Mac Anywhere, either on the iPhone, iPad or even on a locked down work PC using a headless VNC client (without actually having one in my bag).

As always happy to hear other great MacStadium use cases.

1 Like