Is lion eating your precious GB? SOLVED!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by WonkyPanda, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. WonkyPanda macrumors regular


    Mar 29, 2010
    I was having a problem a few days ago where I would uninstall programs from my mac and none of that erased space would come back into available storage. I was freaking out thinking my Intel 320 was going crazy. I tried trimming, erasing free space, and other terminal commands. None of them brought me back the missing ~25gb of space that I was trying to get back.

    Luckily, user Matwue solved this troubling issue for me:

    So, if you have an SSD and are wondering where your precious GB are going, look no further than the stupidly made mobilebackups that are sure to be a headache for SSD users.
  2. lifeinhd macrumors 65816


    Mar 26, 2008
    My solution for mobile backups-- don't delete anything you don't want to delete. It's kind of the same reason I don't have a case for my iPad-- my solution is to not drop it.

    I have a TM backup for if the hard drive dies, that's it. Mobile Backups, another useless Lion feature :rolleyes:
  3. marc11 macrumors 68000

    Mar 30, 2011
    NY USA
    Not so useless really, sometimes you need to look beyond the obvious. Let's say you are on the road for work or vacation or whatever, but away from your Time Machine. You spend hours over the next week editing, saving, changing, merging documents and files. Now, you go home and synch, the latest snap shot is taken. But you realized you screwed up and one of the edits you did was what you wanted, it was three days ago. Hmmm, now if Time Machine were saving data every hour, you would have that edit, but since you were on the road, it is WAIT, you DO have that edit because the back up WAS saved.

    Of course versions addresses this too, but only with iWork today. That same can be said for a program or any file you manipulate while on the road, it is nice to have ALL your changes saved and back up when you are back connected to Time Machine.

    If Time Machine is valuable while you are home or in the office, then it is just as valuable when you are not there to be connected to it, Time Machine is not just for complete HDD crashing and recovery IMHO. Of course the REAL solution would be to add over the internet Time Machine back ups so you can back up anywhere you have an internet connection.
  4. lifeinhd macrumors 65816


    Mar 26, 2008
    Or have two internal HDDs in RAID 1 :rolleyes:
  5. bolen macrumors 6502


    Jul 22, 2008
    Does anyone know if the local backups are purged after TimeMachine has done its' thing?

    Let's say I have my laptop on the road and it saves versions and such. And when I get home the TimeMachine gets connected and runs its backup, will the local, then redundant, backup be purged?

    If that's the case then this is only an annoyance if you're not using TimeMachine ever.
  6. Synergie macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2011
    Halifax, Canada
    Thanks for this information! I had not even realized that this was happening and that I was losing HD space! I have now disabled it!

    I am connected at least once a day - usually more - to the time capsule anyway so I have plenty of backups stored on there. Even if I went away for a few days, there's nothing THAT important that I would miss restoring from the last backup at home. I tend to save my documents on iDisk anyway so I have access from work and home (at least while iDisk still exists) And my photos from the camera, I don't usually delete right away from the SD card, until it starts running low on space.

    I wish they had informed people about this feature and included a simple tick box in Time Machine preferences!
  7. screensaver400 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 28, 2005
    To test this, I unplugged my Time Machine drive and deleted a few files totaling 1.67GB. Sure enough, Finder reported the space as freed up, but Activity Monitor and Disk Utility didn't.

    I then activated Time Machine (with the external drive still unplugged). I was able to restore some of the smaller files, but the largest wasn't there. Perhaps Mobile Time Machine limits the size of files backed up locally.

    I then plugged in my Time Machine drive and told it to backup. It did, but my free space has not updated in Disk Utility or Activity Monitor. So it seems that plugging in the external backup, at least in this test, did not purge the local backups.
  8. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Time Machine isn't activated on my Lion MBP ... It wasn't activated by default. What are you guys talking about?
  9. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    When Finder shows the space as free, are you able to fill it up with files (presumably preventing you from recovering them in TM)? If so it sounds like it's not a problem.

    Even with a SSD it's not a problem since without TRIM the drive doesn't delete stuff until it's overwritten, so in this case the OS is hiding the data from the user instead of the SSD, which is nice because it means you can get your files back if you want. The hourly versioning might cause extra write cycles for those concerned about that (personally I don't worry about write cycles on my SSD- by the time it dies a better model will be out anyway, and if it dies under warranty it's basically a free upgrade if I can sell the warranty replacement for a good price).
  10. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Help says
    As a result of this, if you turn TimeMachine off and then on again it will delete all local snapshots but continue to save remotely.

    If you simply want to turn local snapshots off, open terminal and execute "sudo tmutil disablelocal".

    Personally, I think it is a great feature (because I'm not always at home base), but you can turn it off or purge it occasionally if disk usage becomes a problem. However help does state that it will remove snapshots if necessary for applications to run.
  11. screensaver400 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 28, 2005
    I deleted 50GB of files from my SSD, giving me 102GB of free space according to Finder (but 52GB free according to Disk Utility). I then tried to copy a folder with 70GB of data to the SSD. It failed, saying I had insufficient disk space.

    Yep, this does seem to work. However, the OS should allow files to write over the snapshots, starting with the oldest. Being told you don't have enough space to copy 70GB of files when you have 102GB listed as available in Finder is inexcusable.
  12. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    That would appear to be a bug. Did you report it to Apple?
  13. screensaver400 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 28, 2005
    Just did:

  14. L0s7man macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2009
    I got a better solution... Turn off TimeMachine altogether!

    I backup what I care about to Dropbox; that is mostly source code and backup of my linux VM whenever I do full system update (hint: linux VM image compresses *REALLY* well; from 8GB VM to 1GB with bzip); I use Gentoo which some say is pointless on a VM, but I'm used to it and I like to administer it...

    Anyway, so backups to Dropbox, all photos to the cloud (20gb Picasa for $5/year; I just upload full size straight from the camera photos); RAW files to external HDD (once you get them processed you don't use them often anyway).

    And I got plenty of space ;-) 64GB doesn't feel too cramped anymore.
  15. coopiklaani macrumors member


    Aug 12, 2011
    Donna if i'm right. but it seems the eaten up space got freed after synced with my time mechine. Guess local mobile backup is more like a buffer for real time mechine backup.
  16. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    That's the way it should be. Unfortunately, I checked (by looking into the hidden folder that holds the snapshots) and they don't go away when reconnecting time machine. I've read articles in the press that says they will, but nothing in Apple's help documentation claims that.
  17. myjellyass macrumors regular

    May 1, 2007
    Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
    You've got to be pretty much the only person on a tech site advising people not to backup!

    But thanks for the help everybody, I was really scratching my head over what the 'backups' was in System Info.
  18. MrCheeto macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    My great grandfather is wondering what your solution to a stroke or heart failure is.
  19. Wlayco macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2011
    same problem

    Hello everybody, I have the same problem, but I didn't find a solution to it - I don't use TimeMachine backup, but apparently TimeMachine created a image on my SSD, and now I have only 4 gb of free space. I've founde a sparse image bundle file of some 75 gb and I presume that's that image file, but I cannot delete it. Also, I cannot turn off filevault because I don't have enough disk space. I disabled local backups, but the space is still used. I use Macbook Air, 13', 2010. Help anyone?
  20. Skika macrumors 68030

    Mar 11, 2009
    I've tried with the command and when it prompts for the password i can't get it to write. It doesn't let me input anything?

  21. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Jan 20, 2010
    That's not exactly a backup...

    I think you mean "when". All HDDs will die, the question is not "if" but "when"...
  22. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    It's working fine. It doesn't show what you are typing, not even ***, so nobody can see the length of your password. This is the standard behavior of unix system shells.

    Also, it's not really necessary to disable this. Lion frees up the space over time, provided you also do external backups.
  23. Skika macrumors 68030

    Mar 11, 2009
    Ok, thank you.
  24. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Feb 28, 2011
    Not to mention the sleepimage file that's equal to the amount of memory in the machine.
  25. Winter Charm macrumors 6502a

    Winter Charm

    Jul 31, 2008
    Not exactly. Local backups are purged one week after they were made, though. So they run on their own schedule. They ARE purged, though. :)

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