Question about deleting Time Machine back ups

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by MK25toLife, Nov 16, 2014.

  1. MK25toLife macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2007
    Hello, I have let Time Machine automatically back up my computer for a few years w/o even thinking about it or managing it. Now a 1TB external is almost full.

    I was doing my research and read that I can just go into "Backups.backupdb" folder and delete whatever back ups I want manually.

    It looks like I have a few back ups every month dating back to Sept. 2011! Needless to say, I want to delete 70% of these back ups.

    Is it safe to just delete the old folders and leave the newer ones? I hope it's really that simple, please let me know.
  2. firedept macrumors 603


    Jul 8, 2011
    You can and it is that simple, but it is just best to let Time Machine handle the work for you. TM will automatically just start deleting the oldest files once the drive you are using is full so that new files can be created. My attitude is why mess with a good thing. TM does a good job at it.

    It is so easy to make a mistake going in and deleting files. Not implying that you will, but I know if I did, I would be kick myself in the butt for weeks after. Especially if this is your only backup.
  3. MK25toLife thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2007
    The reason I need to start manually deleting is b/c I only have 3gb's left on my external.

    So I can just go in and delete everything from 2011, 2012 and 2013 with no issues right?
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I would not manually delete anything like that. There is a good chance you will muck things up. If the disk gets full, Time Machine will automatically start deleting the oldest data by itself.
  5. jdphoto macrumors 6502


    Jan 13, 2014
    I agree, I've seem someone ruin a time machine backup this way. In theory I think manually deleting should work, but I wouldn't risk it. Not much of a reason to as long as it keeps going by automatically deleting the old files.
  6. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    you are better buying a new 2tb drive and starting a new time machine back set. Label and put the old drive somewhere safe. If you need restores something from way back it will be there. The new drive will let you backup for a good while.

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