How To Delete Time Machine Backups

Time Machine on macOS is an inbuilt feature that allows backups to be made automatically or manually according to how a user wants.

Deleting some of your old Time Machine backups, however, might be a good idea if you are running low on storage space. This article will deal with the various of how to delete Time Machine backups, and some general ideas about the frequency of Time Machine backups.

Is it OK to Delete Old Backups in Time Machine?

If you are running low on storage space, then it is a good idea to delete your Time Machine backups. However, if you are new to this and don’t want to risk accidentally deleting a critical Time Machine backup, then you may simply let the macOS do it, as it starts the deleting process of the oldest Time Machine backups once the storage space starts running out.

How Do I Delete Time Machine Backups On My Mac?

There are many ways to delete your Time Machine backups on MacOS, some of them you may read and follow below:

How to Delete Time Machine Backups on Mac

  1. On your Mac computer, go to the Apple menu > System Settings > General and click Time Machine (alternatively, you may open it from LaunchPad).
  2. Move through the backups listed on the Time Machine.
  3. After selecting a backup data to delete, click the gear or ellipsis icon and select Delete Backup. You might have to enter your password also.

While this method effectively deletes data from your Time Machine, it can be slightly cumbersome and take time due to individually removing old backup data date by date. If you are more inclined to delete all data from your Time Machine, then you may follow the other method below:

How to Delete Time Machine Backups on Mac via Finder

  1. Open the Finder on your Mac.
  2. Look for the backup location of where you store your Time Machine data
  3. Go to the Backups.backupdb folder to look for your backup datas. (This file may generally be found on the external hard drive)
  4. You may simply highlight them all by pressing Command + A and right-clicking or tapping command again to delete them.

Make sure to also empty to Recycle Bin for the Time Machine backups to be completely removed. However. Do note that this method is generally not recommended as it deletes all Time Machine backups rather than just a single one which may cause trouble in the near future if you ever happen to encounter data loss on your Mac computer.

Check out this article to learn How To Resolve Time Machine Backup Failed Already In Use Error in 5 Steps

How to Delete Time Machine Backups on Mac via Terminal

Using the Mac Terminal can be a rather way to delete Time Machine backups, to do so, follow the given steps below:

  1. On the finder, navigate to Applications > Utilities and open Terminal.
  2. Type the command “ tmutil listbackups “. This command will display your backup datas by data.
  3. Locate the backup you want to delete and note down its directory.
  4. Type “ sudo tmutil delete “ followed by the path directory you noted
  5. Simply tap on Return on your keyboard to delete the folder.

This can be a simple way to easily delete your Time Machine backup data if you are looking for a more automated and fast way.


How to delete Time Machine backups? The following above ways should be more than enough to ensure that you are able to delete your backup data, if you, however, are looking for info regarding the above steps, then don’t forget to comment below!

Common FAQs

Is it good to use Time Machine on Mac?

Yes, Time Machine on Mac can be used ensure that your data is safely backed up in case you encounter an error on your system or even a crash. Time Machine as a result can be used to restore your Mac to a working state.

How do I access Time Machine on my Mac?

You may find Time Machine on the Mac Menu Bar, if it isn’t there, you may search for it on the Spotlight or by following methods listed above on this article to access the Time Machine.

Does Time Machine slow down Mac?

Generally, Time Machine is built in such a way that it does not slow down your Mac computer even when its full. However, the Time Machine itself may stop backing up your data if you run out of backup storage on your external or internal hard drive.