How to delete Time Machine local backups on High Sierra

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by user1234, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. user1234 macrumors 6502a

    user1234

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    Sweden
    #1
    I discovered today that "System" was using 200GB of space on my 500GB internal SSD on my iMac. I realised that Time Machine local backups was re-enabled when I upgraded to High Sierra, and the tmutil disablelocal command is no more.

    One way to fix it would probably be to let Time Machine complete a backup to it's destination, but here's how to delete local backups in High Sierra.

    PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS MAY OR MAY NOT AFFECT TIME MACHINES ABILITY TO BACK UP PROPERLY. DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK.

    First open terminal then find out the volume used by Time Machine local backups:
    Code:
    df -h
    For me it was /Volumes/com.apple.TimeMachine.localsnapshots and it probably is for you too, but it never hurts to confirm it.


    Then list local snapshots:
    Code:
    tmutil listlocalsnapshotdates /Volumes/com.apple.TimeMachine.localsnapshots

    Use tmutil deletelocalsnapshots to delete them, followed by the date of the snapshot:
    Code:
    tmutil deletelocalsnapshots YYYY-DD-MM-HHMMSS
    Example: tmutil deletelocalsnapshots 2017-09-30-191318

    Repeat until they are all gone. This did free up the space for me.
     
  2. mayuka macrumors 6502a

    mayuka

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    #2
    I had some trouble with too less free space. Deleting local snapshots free'd up some space. Many thanks for discovering.

    However, is there a way to disable local snapshots altogether?

    In earlier versions this could be done with

    Code:
    tmutil disablelocal
    but this option is no longer available.
     
  3. gages macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    #3
    I have an external time capsule and an internal APFS volume. I use timemachineditor to backup once per day. When the external time machine backup kicks off, the local snapshot gets updated and the prior one deleted.

    tmutil listlocalsnapshots /
    com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-11-020452

    Anyway to control this behavior?

    Timemachineeditor has been updated with some new local snapshot features

    https://tclementdev.com/timemachineeditor/
     
  4. mayuka macrumors 6502a

    mayuka

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    #4
    Well, at least with the normal Time Machine backup, local snapshots are not deleted when the TM backup to the external drive has been finished.

    The only thing that would come into my mind would be to create a cron-job that deletes the local snapshots once a day or so...
     
  5. gages macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    #5
    So I emailed with the guy who writes timemachineeditor. He states:

    That's part of Apple's Time Machine. They are now creating a local snapshot and using that snapshot as the data source to create a regular backup, rather than using the live disk as the source (as is the case with an HFS disk).
     
  6. user1234 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    user1234

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    Sweden
    #6
    I have not found a way to do this. The great thing though is that with APFS a snapshot should only take up space for what is different between a snapshot and the volume. The not so great part is that I had 100 GB of temporary data that time machine started to backup, and deleting this temporary data did not stop the backup since it was all in the snapshot. I had to manually deal with that.
     
  7. Honza1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Location:
    US
    #7
    That explains it! I was wondering why - now in HS - when I connect TimeMachine disk (I use two - one at work and one at home) the backup starts very quickly after connecting and is done in short time - before in Sierra system always had to go through a long "preparing..." step. This seems better...
     
  8. gaedfly macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2014
    #8
    It might be better when time machine works. Local snapshots aren’t supposed to take up a lot of space and are only supposed to be stored on a drive with plenty of space. In my case time machine created about half a dozen local snapshots in 2 days, taking my 1TB SSD from 755GB free space to 50GB. This might be because despite working for hours with Apple and Eero to use my time capsule in bridge mode only as a network backup drive most of the backups failed. It took me all day to figure out where the free space went. A senior advisor at Apple tried to help but said time machine couldn’t be the culprit. Thankfully I found a post here about deleting local snapshots using tmutil. Now I’m back to 700 + GB free and my system folder went from 700GB to 50. I’m switching to Carbon Copy Cloner, which won’t dump hidden files onto my SSD, a proprietary action I can’t disable.
     
  9. mcglk macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2018
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #9
    If it helps any, I found the following helpful:

    Code:
    $ tmutil thinlocalsnapshots /Volumes/com.apple.TimeMachine.localsnapshots
    Thinned local snapshots:
    2017-12-23-194132
    2017-12-24-003305
    2017-12-24-044458
    2017-12-24-052058
    . . .
    $ _
     
  10. Cinetagonist macrumors newbie

    Cinetagonist

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2016
    #10
    Need some automation in this process. Put it in Terminal or create a script with Automator:
    Code:
    tmutil  listlocalsnapshotdates / |grep 20|while read f; do tmutil deletelocalsnapshots $f; done
     
  11. zezee3 macrumors newbie

    zezee3

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2015
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    #11
    --- Post Merged, Jan 26, 2018 ---
    Thank you for posting the Time Machine Editor. I installed it and it is working great.
     
  12. lpuerto macrumors newbie

    lpuerto

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2014
    Location:
    Joensuu
    #12
    Thanks a lot for this!! Really solved a lot of problems.

    I should learn more how to use terminal more efficiently
     
  13. apmu macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2012
    #13
    If you only want to delete some of the snapshots...

    tmutil listlocalsnapshotdates /Volumes/com.apple.TimeMachine.localsnapshots

    Copy and paste the snapshot dates you want deleted into a file called tmp.txt and put it on the Desktop of your Mac. One date per line.

    Then in Terminal.app, run:

    cd ~/Desktop
    for i in `cat tmp.txt`; do tmutil deletelocalsnapshots $i; done
     
  14. lpuerto macrumors newbie

    lpuerto

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2014
    Location:
    Joensuu
    #14
    this is a great idea also :)
     
  15. cool11 macrumors 65816

    cool11

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2006
    #15
    Please tell me a permanent way to completely disable the automatic creation of TM snapshots.
    Needless to say I never use TM, and and TM is disabled in System Preferences.
    But each day a new snapshot is created and I have to manually delete it.
    Can we stop this once and for all?
     
  16. msephton macrumors 6502

    msephton

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Cornwall, UK
    #16
    This behaviour is making my otherwise fine setup feel like molasses. Each backup consumes up to 8GB of Virtual Memory, causing causing massive slowdown as you'd imagine. It wasn't like this until a few point updates ago.

    Trying TimeMachineEditor and crossing my fingers.
     
  17. cool11 macrumors 65816

    cool11

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2006
    #17
    I can't believe that there is no way to stop the automatic creation of TM images, even when a user has TM disabled! It is crazy!
     
  18. aussie_geek, Sep 24, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018

    aussie_geek macrumors 65816

    aussie_geek

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    Sydney Australia
    #18
    ATOMIC SCRIPT! Epic... Nice one!

    Puts your Mac in a state ready for a backup before you connect your Time Machine.
     
  19. cool11 macrumors 65816

    cool11

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2006
    #19
    Can somebody create the script and tell how to put it on daily schedule?
     
  20. gctwnl macrumors regular

    gctwnl

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #20
    Wouldn't this delete the local snapshot that Time Machine is using to create the external one? Shouldn't you delete all but the most recent one to be sure you do not damage your external backup? After all, the current TM first creates the local snapshot and then moves that to the dedicated Time Machine volume.disk.
     
  21. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #21
    I don't believe that is how these local snapshots work. It does not appear they get moved or backed up to the TM disk at all. They are just a second way for you to get to deleted data that may not have been backed up to a TM disk.
     
  22. user1234 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    user1234

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    Sweden
    #22
    The local snapshots screwed me over today.

    Finder reported 80 GB free, but VMware Fusion refused to boot a VM because there was no space available. Sure enough, I had 70+ GB of snapshots taking up space that Finder didn't report, and the automatic management that Apple claims is there didn't do anything to free up space on the fly either.

    My iMac desktop computer is always connected to ethernet and is backing up to a NAS every hour. I don't need any local snapshots to be stored. It's ridiculous that it can't be turned off.
     
  23. vbctv macrumors 6502

    vbctv

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    #23
    It seems if you uncheck the Auto Backup option in the Time Machine settings that it stop the local backups. I have zero local backups currently and have the auto backup option turned off... I think that's a new feature in Mojave because I don't remember the check mark option in High Sierra...
     
  24. jbarley macrumors 68040

    jbarley

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    #24
    Are you by chance referring to this Auto Backup selection box, in my High Sierra install?

    Screen Shot 2018-11-25 at 9.55.02 PM.png
     
  25. vbctv macrumors 6502

    vbctv

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    #25
    Yes, I guess the option first appeared in High Sierra but I missed it.
     

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