TimeMachine backups. Are they manually deletable?

musique

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 10, 2009
222
5
Is it possible to delete old TimeMachine backups (without screwing up the TimeMachine file/database)?

I use a NAS to backup a MBP. The backups go back to September of last year. The space allocated for TM backups now has less than 10% free. And when TM finishes a backup, after the "Finishing" step, the "Cleaning Up" step takes quite a bit of time. (I assume this will continue to get worse as the free space diminishes.)

I'd be OK with me if older backups were automatically deleted, but the Cleaning Up takes a bit of time and is relatively loud. Hence, I'd like to simply go in, delete backups before a certain date and free space.

Is this doable?

Thanks for any assistance.
 

mollyc

macrumors 68030
Aug 18, 2016
2,777
13,143
Yes, you can. If you google your question you will find lots of resources, including on the Apple website.
 

musique

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 10, 2009
222
5
Well, that's embarrassing. Just as you suggested, I found lots of info in google.

I was surprised at how simple the delete process is. I should have checked there first, before posting here.

Still, thank you so much for the quick response.
 
  • Like
Reactions: madrich and mollyc

mollyc

macrumors 68030
Aug 18, 2016
2,777
13,143
Yes, you can but is it not wise to to delete the oldest backup first, instead of a middle date backup?
Yes. But the OP said “backups before a certain date” so I assumed he meant the very oldest.
 

Efrem

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2009
112
15
Yes, you can but is it not wise to to delete the oldest backup first, instead of a middle date backup?
It depends. If someone knows that s/he didn't do anything critical during a certain time period - say s/he was on vacation, avoided anything that looked like work, and the vacation photos are already backed up to the cloud somewhere - it's probably totally safe to delete the automatic daily or whatever backups from that period, while there are occasional situations where one wants to go as far back as possible. One size doesn't necessarily fit all. It's impossible to generalize about the best backup retention strategy for everyone.
 

madrich

macrumors 6502
Feb 19, 2012
483
75
World Class City of Chicago
It depends. If someone knows that s/he didn't do anything critical during a certain time period - say s/he was on vacation, avoided anything that looked like work, and the vacation photos are already backed up to the cloud somewhere - it's probably totally safe to delete the automatic daily or whatever backups from that period, while there are occasional situations where one wants to go as far back as possible. One size doesn't necessarily fit all. It's impossible to generalize about the best backup retention strategy for everyone.
I understand what you are saying. My concern is there any mechanical or software program issues with deleting a snapshot in the middle of several backups.
 

posguy99

macrumors 65816
Nov 3, 2004
1,272
714
I understand what you are saying. My concern is there any mechanical or software program issues with deleting a snapshot in the middle of several backups.
You *do* realize that TM is perfectly capable of managing the thinning of the backups without any help.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.