4 Replies Latest reply: Feb 13, 2013 8:32 AM by Michael Black
amyspapa Level 1 Level 1

Can Apple's "Time Machine" backup schedule be altered?  Every hour is way too much!

iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.8), Using G-drive Mini
  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10

    Apple's backup schedule cannot be altered.


    I'm not necessarily recommending it, but a utility like Time Machine Editor will allow you to schedule backups whenever you like.


    TimeMachineEditor for details.

  • Michael Black Level 7 Level 7

    The interval for the backups is simply altered by editing a single plist file in /System/Library/LaunchDaemons.


    You can use a terminal command like this (you would enter your admin password when prompted):


    sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto StartInterval -int 14400


    The interval is the "-int 14400" part, and the number is just the time between backups in seconds.  The default setting is 3600 or one hour.  "14400" would be to do a backup every 4 hours.  I use "43200" to get a backup once every twelve hours.


    Personally, I always make a backup of the original system file first, before editing the active version.  This command will make a copy of that file with the extension *.original.


    sudo cp /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto.plist /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto.plist.original

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10

    It might be a bit easier for most users to use Time Machine Editor to make the changes to the operating system....rather than going into Terminal to try to do this themselves.


    Unless you are an experienced programmer, the Terminal is a scary place to be.

  • Michael Black Level 7 Level 7

    Bob Timmons wrote:




    Unless you are an experienced programmer, the Terminal is a scary place to be.


    Sorry, but I don't see it that way at all.  UNIX terminal commands do not require any programming knowledge at all.  And there's nothing scary about a great many simple terminal commands, provided one does a little reading and self-education beforehand.  The op can quite litterally copy and paste what I posted into a terminal window, just altering the number for the time interval they wish, hit return, enter their admin password, and TM schedule is altered the way they want.


    Personally, I find installing a system preferance panel or utility app to achieve something as simple and straightforward as this to be the annoying thing - much better to learn a very simple terminal command instead IMO.


    Or, honestly, they could just use finder to go to System\Library\LaunchDaemons, open that plist file in a text editor (again, they will need to authorise with admin password), and just change the "3600" entry to whatever they wish - its just a plain text file afterall.


    Regardless, this is just a user forum, and a poster can thus do as they wish with the information provided.