Time Machine

Time Machine is macOS's built-in backup system. Backups can take place to either a directly mounted volume or to a network share over AFP or SMB.


Management is via the tmutil CLI tool:

  • startbackup
  • stopbackup
  • destinationinfo


To stream all logs for Time Machine:

sudo log stream --predicate 'subsystem == "com.apple.TimeMachine"' --level debug

Alternatively, to page through them:

sudo log show --predicate 'subsystem == "com.apple.TimeMachine"' --debug --info --pager

Paths to exclude

These paths tend to contain large numbers of files that are likely of little value in backups -- it's easier to redownload applications than to restore to backup.

  • /Applications
  • /Library/Developer
  • /opt/homebrew
  • /usr/local
  • /Users/*/.npm
  • /Users/*/.vscode
  • /Users/*/Applications
  • /Users/*/Downloads
  • /Users/*/Library/Application Support/JetBrains/Toolbox/apps
  • /Users/*/Library/Application Support/LogMeInInc/GoToMeeting/.versions