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How Do I Turn Off Time Machine In Sierra?

I used to have a Time Capsule. But I was having issues with it, plus most everything is backed up to iCloud now, so I replaced it with a new Airport Base Station (without the built in Time Capsule).

I then went into Time Machine preferences to turn it off so it wouldn’t continue to try backing up but there’s no on/off switch. I’m almost certain there was in older versions of MacOS. Instead there’s a box next to “Back Up Automatically.” So I unchecked it thinking that would do it.

But now I keep getting notifications that I haven’t backed up in so many days, or that the last back up didn’t finish. I’ve tried going into “Select Disk” to see if I can unselect the old one, but no luck.

How do I tell Time Machine to stop trying, or to turn it off completely?

Comments: 8 Responses to “How Do I Turn Off Time Machine In Sierra?”

    3 years ago

    Unchecking “Back Up Automatically” is how you turn off Time Machine. It is the same checkbox as before, just with a new label.
    Now all you need to do is to remove the current backup disk. To do this, Control+click on the disk icon on the same screen. It should be right above the “select disk” button. You get an option to “stop” using the disk.
    But I would urge you to keep using Time Machine. iCloud (or any cloud storage) does help protect your data in some ways, but not others. For instance what if you accidentally mistake one file for another and delete the important one. Then some time later you realize your mistake. The file is gone from your Mac, iCloud, everywhere. But with Time Machine you would be able to go back and find that file. Or what if you get hit with some future not-yet-invented malware? It corrupts/encrypts your files — and that all syncs to iCloud so all of your files are gone. But a Time Machine backup may have let you roll back the clock and restore.
    So there are lots of situations where a Time Machine backup will save you that a cloud “backup” would not. That’s why I do both. Plus drives are cheap. You can plug a USB drive right into your Airport Extreme (I assume that’s what you have) and use it like a Time Capsule. Or, plug directly into your MacBook while it is on your desk.

    Cameron Price
    3 years ago

    Wow, that was easy! I talked to a senior advisor from Apple, and even he didn’t come up with a solution. You rock, Gary!

    I hear you on the backup advice. My Time Capsule had stopped operating properly, even after dumping the backup and starting fresh several times. I will need to do as you say and look at getting another drive to connect to my Airport Extreme. Would you recommend a solid state drive as the best option?

    3 years ago

    Cameron: Not really. A SSD is super fast but expensive. For backups, you don’t need super fast — regular fast will do. So just get a USB 3 (not 2) external HDD.

    Geoff Lawrence
    3 years ago

    Will USB 3.0 HD work with a USB 2.0 MacBook Air late 2010? Having serious issues with TM Backup Failed flag on different external devices and cannot complete a full backup using TM

    3 years ago

    Geoff: Yes. USB 3 drives work over USB 2, just at USB 2 speeds, naturally.

    Geoff Lawrence
    3 years ago

    Thank you for the clarification Gary. I appreciate it.

    Can problems with TM Backup Failed flag be linked to the USB type being used? I get that error every single time I try to backup from a late 2010 MBA to an external SSD, external HD. I can copy between the two external devices but every time an attempt is made to backup from the MBA, the error arises. On line search over several weeks has yet to yield a viable solution.

    3 years ago

    Geoff: Odd. Is the drive formatted as Mac OS Extended Journaled? Could just be a drive that has problems.

    Geoff Lawrence
    3 years ago

    Same issue going to two different SSD’s and a 3.5 in an OWC Drive Dock and to an older Nexsttar standalone. Consistent issue over the last several months,

    Online bits give pretty much vanilla ideas that do not work here. Sierra gives fewer choices when trying to work with the drives like Repair, etc

    Frustration city. Will check but pretty sure the formatting is correct (there are only two choices in Sierra for Mac)

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