How does Time Machine handle running out of space?

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by kat.hayes, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. kat.hayes macrumors 6502a

    Oct 10, 2011
    I use two separate Time Machine drives, an 8TB one and a 6TB backup that I keep at a remote location.

    What happens when there is not enough free space on my Time Machine drive? Will it stop working or will it delete the oldest backup(s) if necessary to be able to make a new backup?

  2. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    Depends on your settings. It will either notify and ask you or delete the oldest snapshots.
  3. kat.hayes thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 10, 2011
    So as long as I am willing to delete older backups, it will be able to continue to back up with TM as long the overall size of the drive is large enough to do the backup?

  4. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    Yes. Time Machine is not for archiving, it will only preserve a backup history as much as space permits it. You will lose those files that are unique to that particular snapshot and are not shared by any other snapshot.
  5. treekram macrumors 65832

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    I ran out of space to hold all of my backups on my TM drive a few months back. I've noticed that it takes some time for TM to clear out the old backup(s) to make space. I'm backing up to a Firewire 800 drive, so that contributes to the time required as well. For those where that becomes an issue, you can manually delete older backups.

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