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  • Deleting Local Time Machine Snapshots

    Home Forums AskWoody support Non-Windows operating systems macOS Deleting Local Time Machine Snapshots

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        Nathan Parker

        In addition to macOS Time Machine backing up to an external drive, Time Machine also periodically creates local backups (known as “local snapshots”) to the internal drive. These are especially useful if the external drive is temporarily disconnected from the Mac in-between backups, and it provides another layer of file restoration.

        macOS usually automatically purges these local snapshots without any manual user intervention. However, occasionally I’ve ran into an issue where I’ve needed to manually purge Time Machine local snapshots (such as creating an eDrive using Micromat TechTool Pro). Here are the various methods to delete local Time Machine snapshots:

        Through System Preferences

        According to this article, one can delete local Time Machine snapshots by disabling, then re-enabling Time Machine in System Preferences. I’ve found it’s not always reliable though.

        Delete Individual Snapshots Through Terminal

        According to this article, one can delete individual local Time Machine snapshots through the Terminal. The command to run to list local Time Machine snapshots is:

        tmutil listlocalsnapshots /

        Then one runs:

        sudo tmutil deletelocalsnapshots ENTERSNAPSHOTDATEHERE

        This works if one needs to remove individual snapshots, but it is a little tedious to remove all snapshots.

        Delete All Snapshots Through Terminal

        The quickest and most reliable command that removes all local Time Machine snapshots from the Terminal is:

        tmutil deletelocalsnapshots /

        I successfully used this to purge my local snapshots so I could create my TechTool Pro eDrive.

        For those who need to delete any local Time Machine snapshots, give these commands a try!

        Nathan Parker

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