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How Do I Delete a Folder From Time Machine Backups?

Thank you for the awesome video from 2018 explaining how to delete a file (and all its backups) from Time Machine (https://macmost.com/how-to-remove-all-copies-of-a-file-from-time-machine.html). I am running a 2013 Mac Pro with Big Sur and it seems that the method explained in the video is no longer supported. There is no option to delete file or folders from within Time Machine any more.

Do you know of another method (short of deleting the entire backup) of purging a file or folder from TM backups?

I wish to delete a folder of files for security. I have deleted them from my Mac Pro, but they still exist in my Time Machine backups.

Thanks for providing a wonder full service.

Geoff

Device: Mac Running Big Sur

App: System Preferences, Something Else
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Geoff Buttsworth

Comments: 8 Responses to “How Do I Delete a Folder From Time Machine Backups?”

    1 month ago

    It works the same way. Remember you have to go back in time before you can use it. And usually “now” and the one step back are the same. So go two steps back in time, at least, and then Control+click on the file or folder and you should have the option to delete it

    Geoff Buttsworth
    1 month ago

    Thank you for such a rapid response. Sadly, I don’t see what you see. Control+clicking gives me a menu, but it only gives me options like ‘Open’, ‘Restore’, ‘Get Info’, etc. I have posted a screenshot here: https://imgur.com/48DlBVo

    1 month ago

    Geoff: That’s what I see if I haven’t “gone back in time” but at looking at the current file. Try going back in time to yesterday first, then Control+click.

    Geoff Buttsworth
    1 month ago

    Gary, thanks for persevering with this. My previous photo was “back in time” but I’ve gone back further to Oct 21st with no change in the options that Control+Click gives me. Another screenshot (taken today Oct 29) here: https://imgur.com/a/ElMxrot

    1 month ago

    Geoff: I don’t know why that option isn’t appearing for you. Did you try other files and folders? Is the folder present on your drive currently? If so, that could explain it. The idea would be that you delete the folder on your current drive, and then you are deleting tracing of it from the backup. It wouldn’t make sense to delete it from the backup but just have it back up again right away.

    Geoff Buttsworth
    1 month ago

    Gary: The folder was deleted a day and a half ago now. It hasn’t been replaced. I have tried several other files too. To check, I got out my M1 MacBook Pro (running Monterey (v 12.0.1) – the Mac Pro is currently running Big Sur, (v 11.6)), deleted a zip file that had been in my Downloads folder for a week, then “went back in time” with the same result – no option to delete the backup of the zip file. https://imgur.com/a/Gncr3Go Very curious!

    1 month ago

    Geoff: Yes, I’m at a loss. I don’t know why it isn’t working for you. This is not something that Apple removed from macOS because I see it.

    Geoff Buttsworth
    1 month ago

    After further consideration, given the main common factor between my two Macs and their Time Machine backups, I believe the issue could be a permissions thing on my Synology NAS, where the backups are hosted. I’ll do some further research – thanks very much for your help. Geoff

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