Time Machine Delete Individual Backups

Posted on 16 January 2011 • AppleBlogTechnology

Ok, so in terms of backup systems, Apple’s Time Machine really is just about the best thing since sliced bread. It’s very simple to use, and just plain works, providing incremental backups as you work each day.

Now, the only hitch is that sometimes it backs up too much too often. For instance, I was digitising a bunch of old video earlier today. I banged the VHS tapes into the machine, hit record, and then got on with other things while my computer grabbed a full hours worth from an old 60-minute tape. Once I’ve grabbed it I plan to break it up, keeping only a few bits as individual movie files. Now, I got distracted and by the time I got back to my Mac, Time Machine had done it’s thing and backed up a whopping great video file.

So, first I broke up the whopper source video into my bite-sized chunks, then I deleted the whopper, and saved the clips to my hard drive. Once complete, I let Time Machine do it’s backup. Then, time to delete the one I don’t want.

  1. Enter Time Machine and set the folder to your hard drive, usually ‘Macintosh HD‘.
  2. Navigate to the backup you want to delete, in my case Today, 10:15 AM.
  3. Click on the Gear menu from the top-left of the finder window and select Delete Backup.
  4. When prompted confirm the backup and then enter your Admin password.
  5. That’s it. Just exit Time Machine and the selected backup will be deleted.

I’ve now freed up the 22GB whopper video file from my Time Machine backup, just to keep it more manageable.