How to Limit The Size of a Time Machine Backup

How to Limit The Size of a Time Machine Backup

There are a lot of cool things you can do with Apple’s Time Machine backup service in OS X – which has a lot of power tools that most people aren’t aware of. One such feature is the ability to restrict the size of the Time Machine backup. While this isn’t an “official” feature of Time Machine as much as it is various hacks you can perform, it does the job quite well.

Time Capsule

MacFormat recently detailed a few methods that you can use in one of their Friday Q&A sessions – we’ve included a particularly useful segment below. Check out the original post to read MacFormat’s entire answer!

Q.  I’m a big film fan and I spend a lot of my time porting over films to my Mac and its external hard drive. It’s great because I can watch movies on the go without having to lug around an ugly black CD wallet. However, I’m also running Time Machine into this external hard drive, and if I’m not careful I’m going to run out of space. Is it possible to control how many backups Time Machine makes onto the external hard drive? I don’t know if I need the data from way back in October.
Daniel Holt

A. […]Networked Time Machine volumes are created as sparse image bundles, which have their maximum size set when the bundle is first created. This lets you fool Time Machine into using less than the whole disk by putting large files (such as non-sparse disk images) on the disk before you turn on Time Machine for the first time. Once the sparse image bundle has been created, you can remove the padding files and the Time Machine backup won’t grow beyond this original limit. […]