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How Do I Delete a File From the TimeMachine Backups?

My wife and I have watched the Macmost Youtube video, “How To Remove All Copies Of a File From Time Machine (#1690). We cannot find the Action command to delete all Timemachine file backups. The “Gear” does not show up. There is an “Action” menu, but no choices for deleting files. Command-Right Clicking the mouse also does not reveal the delete option.

Is it no longer possible to delete a file or document in Timemachine?

I want to delete some PDF files of financial information. I can delete them from “Documents or the “Desktop” using Finder. However, I want to remove all copies of the file(s) that have been backed up by Timemachine.

—–
Steve

Comments: 10 Responses to “How Do I Delete a File From the TimeMachine Backups?”

    2 years ago

    The action menu now looks like a circle with three dots in it. Note that in order for this to work, you need to be looking at a backup of a file, not the current file. So when you enter Time Machine you are looking at the current files. You need to use the up arrow above the "Now" text to go back at least one backup. Then the action button will have the Delete options when you select a file first.

    Jichael
    1 year ago

    I no longer have a Delete option in the Action menu when using Time Machine. The only options that show up are Open/Restore/Get Info/Quicklook/Copy. I am now running the new system 12.0.1 Monterey and I wonder if that option has now been removed?

    1 year ago

    Jichael: Make sure you are looking at an OLD version of the file. You can't delete the "current" version because it is the one actually present on your drive. So if you last changed the file on August 5, you'd have to go back to past August 5 to delete old copies of it.

    Jichael
    1 year ago

    Thanks Gary, yes looking at any older backup or contained file. Also the option to Delete a complete older backup is now gone.

    1 year ago

    Jichael: Must be some factor with what you have selected. These features are definitely not gone. I still see them.

    Jichael
    1 year ago

    Gary, that's what I was wondering but I just got a level 10 response on an Apple Community forum that said the Delete feature has been removed for Monterey. If true I'm going to have to go to 3rd party backup which is disappointing.

    Jichael
    1 year ago

    I just got a response back from the Apple forum as to why the feature was removed and it is "Welcome. I just assume it's because of the switch to APFS formatted Time Machine drives.
    It was never a great idea to manually delete Time Machine files in the first place. APFS just makes it worse."

    1 year ago

    Jichael: Except that I'm telling you I SEE IT. I don't see it if I select the current version of a file. But if I go back in time enough I will definitely, 100%, no doubt about it, see the Delete option when I control+click a file. macOS Monterey 12.0.1.

    Jichael
    1 year ago

    Gary, I believe you. Is your Time Machine drive APFS or HFS+?

    1 year ago

    Jichael: HFS+ as it predates APFS Time Machine compatibility. Could be the difference.

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