How To Free Space On Your Time Machine Backup Drive

Apple Time Machine backup can be a lifesaver in case of a crash of your MacBook. So it always makes sense to store as many backups as possible on your backup drive.

The only question is how would you optimize your time machine drive to store a maximum number of backup?

By default, time machine comes with a storage optimization technique. It will keep adding the backup to the time machine drive until the drive is full. Once the drive is full, it will delete the oldest backup and try to create space for the current backup.

Free Space in Time Machine Backup Drive

Now, this is fine in case you are using your Mac for only important work. I keep a lot of my media, TV Shows, Movies on my Macbook and they all get backed up on my backup drive. So my time machine drive gets full within 3-4 months and I start losing my old backup. If I want to go back to my 6-month-old backup or want to get some file from that backup, I can’t do it.

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Create Space in Time Machine Backup Drive

I need to make sure that my backup drive has enough space to keep storing the newer backups. There are two ways to do it – make sure that those files don’t get backed up or delete them from time machine backup.

Ignore File/Folder While Doing Time Machine Backup

You can define locations which should be skipped while taking a backup. These locations and any file inside them will not be backed up.

To Do that, open Time Machine Preferences and select Options. You will see a popup with the title – “exclude these items from backups”.

Time Machine Backup Ignore Locations

You can click on the plus sign at the bottom and add any item which you don’t want to be backed up. If you select a folder, all the files inside that folder will be skipped also.

You can check the size of complete backup and size of excluded items also in this panel. You can also opt to get notifications when it starts deleting old backups so that you know the disk is full.

Delete File/Folder From Time Machine Backup

You can go ahead and delete the files from backup which are taking huge space. Like in my case, Once I have watched my TV Shows and Movies, I don’t want those in my backup.

Delete All Backup Of A File

Step 1 – To delete the files Enter Time Machine and go to the location of the file. You might have to go to specific date backup if the file is not available in today’s snapshot.

Step 2 – Right-Click on the file or folder and select “Delete All Backups of”.

Step 3 – This will remove all the backups of that file/folder and you will have extra space on your backup drive.

This way you can have the backups of certain files till required and delete those files afterward. You can optimize the backup drive storage with these tips and make sure that your Time Machine retain the maximum number of backups.

Do you use any other tips to optimize the storage for your backup drive? Share it with us in the comments.

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About Sanjeev

Sanjeev is an IT Consultant and technology enthusiast. He has more than 15 years of experience in building and maintaining enterprise applications. He is been with Android from T-Mobile G1 time but recently shifted to iOS. He loves to code and play with the latest gadgets.

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