How to delete a Time Machine backup

Time Machine is the best way to protect your data on your Mac. Backups can be fully automated, making it easy to restore files and folders. If you use Time Machine, you may need to delete certain backup files and snapshots to free up space.

Read on to learn how to delete Time Machine backups from your Mac’s external and internal storage media.

Why you should delete a Time Machine backup

Setting up Time Machine on an external drive builds a stable archive of Mac data backups (or snapshots). This allows you to restore a specific version of a file or folder. In some cases, it can be traced back several years. Time Machine is smart enough to delete the oldest snapshots and create space, eliminating the need for manual storage space management.

However, if you are also using the backup drive as your personal storage media (only possible with HFS + or MacOS extended format), you can delete all previous backups of any file or folder to free up space. increase. Alternatively, you can choose to delete a specific snapshot.

In addition, if the Time Machine drive isn’t connected, Time Machine keeps a snapshot of the data locally every hour. If your Mac runs out of internal storage, you can delete individual or all local snapshots through the terminal.

Delete file and folder backups via Time Machine

You can use Time Machine to delete all backups of any file or folder on your external hard drive or SSD. The following steps do not apply to APFS (Apple File System) Time Machine drives.

1. Connect your Time Machine drive to your Mac.

2. Select Time Machine Select the icon on the menu bar Please enter the time machine.. or, launch pad Choose other >> >> Time Machine..

3. Navigate to the location of the file or folder and select it. For items you’ve already deleted, use the timeline on the right side of the Time Machine app until you find them in the previous snapshot.

4. Select Equipment-Top icon finder Select a window and Delete all backups of [File/Folder Name]..

5. Select all right With a confirmation popup.

6. Enter your Mac admin password and all right Authenticate the action.

Time Machine will continue to include the file or folder in the new backup. If you want to stop it, you’ll need to add it to Time Machine’s exclusion list (see below for details).

Delete Time Machine snapshots using Finder

Time Machine saves incremental backups of files and folders as separate snapshots. You can remove them directly by accessing the Time Machine drive from the Finder. This is possible on both HFS + and APFS TimeMachine drives.

1. Start up finder Select a Time Machine backup disk in the sidebar.

2. Open Backups.backupdb Folder, then [Name of Your Mac] A subfolder for accessing Time Machine backups. If the drive uses the APFS format, all snapshots are in the root directory.

3. Find the Time Machine snapshot you want to delete. Because the snapshot file name is displayed in YYYY-MM-DD-HHMMSS format, name A column to help you find the specific snapshot you want to delete.

4.4. Control-Click or right-click the snapshot you want to delete Move to the trash..

5. Select continue To confirm.

6. Enter your Mac admin password and all right..

7. Control-Click or right click garbage Select the Mac Dock icon and select Empty recycle bin..

Note: If you can’t empty the Trash, you need to disable System Integrity Protection on your Mac. To do this, access the terminal via macOS recovery and csrutil disable Instructions.

Delete a Time Machine snapshot using a terminal

Another way to delete Time Machine snapshots is to use a terminal on macOS. First, list all snapshot pathnames in a terminal window. Then run the command repeatedly to delete the required snapshots.

1. Connect your Time Machine drive to your Mac.

2. Open launch pad Choose other >> >> Terminal..

3. Run the following terminal command to see a list of Time Machine snapshots.

tmutil listbackups

The HFS + Time Machines drive shows the full file path to each snapshot. If the drive is formatted with APFS, you will only see a list of filenames.

4. Run the following command to delete and replace the snapshot Snapshot path / name Enclose the backup in double quotes using the path to the backup (HFS +) or the name (APFS).

sudotmutildelete “snapshot-path / name”

5. Enter your Mac admin password to authenticate the action and press come in..

6. Repeat for the other snapshots you want to delete.

Delete local snapshot using terminal

Time Machine creates hourly automatic snapshots on your Mac’s local storage, giving you the option to restore a limited amount of data even if you don’t have a backup drive. However, if you are likely to run out of free space, you can remove it from the terminal.

1. Open launch pad Choose other >> >> Terminal..

2. Run the following command to see a list of local snapshots.

tmutil listlocalsnapshots /

3. Delete the Time Machine snapshot using the following command. [snapshot-name] Snapshot name (YYYY-MM-DD-HHMMSS part only):

sudo tmutil deletelocalsnapshots [snapshot-name]

4. Enter your Mac admin password to authenticate the action and press come in..

5. Repeat for the other snapshots you want to delete.

Disable local snapshots (macOS Sierra and earlier only)

For Mac users running macOS 10.12 Sierra operating system or earlier, you can stop Time Machine from taking local snapshots. This action also forces all local snapshots to be deleted. If desired, you can choose to re-enable local snapshots later.

for that purpose, Terminal Run the following command line:

sudo tmutil disable local

To reactivate a local Time Machine snapshot, run the following command:

sudo tmutil enablelocal

Exclude files and folders with Time Machine

You can prevent Time Machine from including certain files or folders in your backups. This is ideal if you don’t want certain items to consume storage on your Time Machine drive. For example, temporary files such as Safari and Apple TV downloads.

1.1. Control-Click or right click System Preferences Icon In the Mac Dock, Time Machine..

2. Select option A button in the lower right corner of the Time Machine window.

3. Select addition (Plus icon).

4. Select and select the files or folders you want to exclude exclude..

5. Repeat for other files or folders you want to exclude.

Cleanup is complete

Deleting old Time Machine backups can help free up space, but it’s a good idea to leave it to Time Machine and intervene only if you start running out of available storage. Also, keep in mind that you can exclude items from your backup to prevent your Time Machine drive from filling up quickly.

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