Time machine confusion...

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Brad09, Dec 31, 2016.

  1. Brad09 macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2013
    I have an external hard drive hooked up to my iMac and have been using Time machine for backups. What I am wanting to do is take this hard drive to my dads house as a secondary backup in case of a fire,etc. at my house, and hookup a new primary hard drive to the iMac at my house. Periodically, I will need to backup what's on my primary drive to the secondary drive in case anything ever happens to the one at home so that I always have two copies.

    A few questions:
    1. Is it best to delete all the time machine backups except 1, before taking the hard drive to my dads? Can I just delete the old backups in finder or is there a better way?

    2. When later backing up the primary hard drive to the secondary one, do I just copy the most recent time machine backup each time?

    If there is a good resource for this type of thing, that would be great. I have searched everywhere and haven't had much luck with Time machine specific solutions to what I'm wanting to do. Thanks in advance.
  2. Phil in ocala macrumors 6502a

    Phil in ocala

    Jul 14, 2016
    apple has made this all overly complicated....its sad
  3. CoastalOR macrumors 68020


    Jan 19, 2015
    Oregon, USA
    Phil in ocala: Your July 2016 post:
    No help for OP. :( Maybe you could try practicing what you preach and helping.
    1. There is no need to delete the old backups. Time Machine will manage them and automatically delete them if the disk gets full.

    2. Maybe just do a recent Time Machine backup to the current Time Machine disk, swap it with the off site disk then do a fresh Time Machine backup on the new on site (previously off site). It would be harder to keep the on site and off site Time Machine backups the same.

    A good Time Machine reference (though it is not up-to-date since the author passed away) is:

    Better solutions for what you want to do might be Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC - my preferred) or Super Duper. They can do a exact bootable clone of your drive. Use Time Machine for your local version backups of previous files. Use the clone software complete bootable backups. Keep a clone local and off site. Many people also supplement backups with cloud backups.
  4. Brad09 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2013
    Thanks for the help. I think I'll look into CCC. Seems like that will do what I need.
  5. Zazoh macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2009
    San Antonio, Texas
    It's great that you have an offsite backup, so many people don't do this but, it is essential.

    I don't use Time Machine at all, I'm not worried about apps and system files, I can re download those, but I do back up all my data. Two at least two separate drives in different locations.

    I use this which is also free on the Mac.

  6. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    1. As CoastalOR mentioned, just leave it be and Time Machine will handle it. Don't mess around manually in there trying to delete things or you may break the backup set.

    2. No... Time Machine will handle two, alternating disks for you. It will know what to backup to each to keep them both updated. Here is the Apple support doc. on the subject.

    --- Post Merged, Jan 1, 2017 ---
    What is complicated about it. You plug in the second drive and select it for backups and the OS will alternate between the drives. Very simple.


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