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Should I Delete Time Machine Files?

Is it ok to delete backups on Time Machine? I have many that go back several years.

I ask this because my Mac had a message that said that the WD that I use had been ejected incorrectly. When I looked at how many files were on it I was surprised. For some reason o thought they aged off automatically

Comments: 7 Responses to “Should I Delete Time Machine Files?”

    2 years ago

    Do not manually delete files on your Time Machine drive. Time Machine manages itself, keeping one copy of each file and multiple versions of some files. As space is needed, it will remove older versions of files.

    If you don't have a large enough backup drive, you may eventually run out of space. This happens when Time Machine can no longer keep a copy of every file, including ones you have deleted. At that point it is time to get a larger drive for your backups.

    If you manually go into Time Machine and try to delete files, it will basically corrupt the backup and make it hard for Time Machine to do its job.

    David Amack
    2 years ago

    I'm confused on this one. When in the TM interface, you can select a file or folder and choose the option to delete that one specifically and all other instances. This might be useful with sensitive information. Will TM then corrupt itself?

    2 years ago

    David: Sorry, I thought you meant to delete right from the drive. Yes, you can use the delete from inside the time machine interface. But that is only really useful for deleting things like sensitive info. If you want to clear space, doing it like that will be too time-consuming.

    Frank Scully
    2 years ago

    Please tell me how to DELETE a file from within time machine interface. I only see "Copy" "Restore" , "open" etc

    2 years ago

    Frank: In the Time Machine interface, select the file. Then click the actions button at the top (circle with three dots). There you'll find delete options.

    Edward Kennedy
    2 years ago

    I have TM running on an attached LaCie drive. Being new to the Apple world I allocated TM space on the LaCie equal to my MBP internal drive (1TB). The TM volume is getting close to capacity. Will TM manage that space or should I allocate more space for TM on the LaCie? If so how do I do that?

    2 years ago

    Edward: So are you using some of the drive for Time Machine and some of it for something else. You shouldn't do that. Not only will it limit the space for Time Machine, but it will mean the data on the other part of the drive isn't really backed up at all (single point of failure). Just dedicate the whole drive to Time Machine. If you need external storage, get another external drive for that.

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