If you want an encrypted backup, Time Machine will erase the contents on the drive as part of the encryption process. It is a full disk encryption. In that case, yes, you'll need a dedicated blank drive.
How to create a volume in High Sierra or Mojave
No, it does not. It creates a Backups. However, if on Lion you want to encrypt your backup it uses the same full-disc encryption as FileVault, and I think your other files on the disc will also be subject to that. I haven't tried this myself.
So What’s Wrong With My Current File Format?
It will require you to erase the disk if it doesn't like the format of the disk. It will just use the free space but it won't backup the files on that disk as stated on the relevant Apple support document. Time Machine works best if you use your backup disk only for Time Machine backups. No it will not erase your existing files. Time machine will create a folder on your external hard drive called Backups. This will contain your time machine backups.
How to partition a Mac hard drive or SSD, or create a APFS volume
Once your disc space is full, time machine will start erasing old backups however so it can always store your most-recent backup. If you connect a disk formatted for Windows, it can be reformatted permanently removing all data to a Mac filesystem format and used as a backup disk. Backup disks you can use with Time Machine. I created 3 1G partition on my 3G external drive. All 3 partitions work fine. No data has been deleted. Listen now. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered.
Is it possible to partition and external drive an use only one of the partitions for a Time Machine backup?
Or does Time Machine need its dedicated hard drive? I've never used Time Machine before.
If it is possible to do this, do I need to pay attention to anything in particular to make sure it'll work without issues? Is this feasible?
How to Format an External Hard Drive for Mac - HelloTech How-To's
Time machine doesn't care what else is on the destination drive as long as the volume partition you choose meets the minimum requirements. If the volume you select isn't formatted properly, Time Machine will offer to erase and reformat the part of the drive that will contain your backups.
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You might want to try resizing partitions using whatever tool you want before you start accumulating a lot of Time Machine data in case you want to be able to adjust the size of the partitions down the road, but that's more of a problem with partitioning and not something that Time Machine causes. Sign up to join this community. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. Ask Question.