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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval System 10.5
If you think Time Machine backs up too often (or not often enough) for your liking, navigate into /System » Library » LaunchDaemons. There you'll find a file named com.apple.backupd-auto.plist. Open it in your favorite text editor, and look for this section:
  <key>StartInterval</key>
  <integer>3600</integer>
Change the 3600 number to some other time interval in seconds, and you'll have changed Time Machine's backup interval.

[robg adds: Did you see that Apple now recommends that you set your machine to manual Time Machine backups if you use Aperture. This might be an easier option, if you set it to some large-enough interval (four hours?) so that it won't go off during your Aperture sessions. Ideally, of course, a coming Aperture and/or 10.5 update will take care of the problem in a more useful manner. I'm not sure what you have to do, if anything, for this change to take effect.]
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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval | 17 comments | Create New Account
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Manual? How?
Authored by: pascalpp on Oct 29, '07 06:23:15PM

How do you set Time Machine to do backups manually? The linked knowledge base article doesn't go into any detail.



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Manual? How?
Authored by: nmerriam on Oct 29, '07 06:28:25PM

Just turn it off and then back on later. It will perform a backup 2 minutes after you turn it on, assuming more than the normal interval has already passed. Turn it off when the backup is done!



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Manual? How?
Authored by: WhiteHawk77 on Oct 30, '07 10:11:46AM

Actually to do manual Time Machine backups you don't have to switch it off and on and off.

You only have to switch it off once, then in the Finder right click on the drive you use for the Time Machine backup, that will give you the "Backup now" option, left click that and it will do a one off back up then and there. Then next time you want to back up do that again.

You can also right click the Time Machine icon if you have it in the Dock and it will give you that same option.

---
Gavin



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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval
Authored by: ajmas on Oct 29, '07 07:49:37PM

I think they probably recommend this due to the way Time Machine works. Unlike a source control system, it does not do diffs of file contents, just diffs of the file system. This means if you change one byte in a given file, then the whole file is backed up again, rather than the change.

There are pros and cons, but this probably makes the engine simpler. Having something too smart often ask for problems.



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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval
Authored by: mdzorn on Oct 29, '07 08:26:11PM

Since Aperture has its own backup feature with "Aperture Vaults", it might be easier to just exclude the Aperture Library from being backed up by the Time Machine [Click options in Time Machine Preferences and add Aperture Library to the list of excluded files.]



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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval
Authored by: cagg on Nov 07, '07 05:42:03PM

What does one have to do for this to be in effect (beside reboot, I assume)? I switched TM to OFF, changed the interval to 4 hours (14,400), then switched TM back ON and it is still doing them hourly.

I also tried using launchctl to unload/load that config file to no avail.



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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval
Authored by: cagg on Nov 08, '07 05:22:20PM

I answered my own question: even though the prefs screen indicates a time within the hour, it actually doesn't do the backup until every 4 hours as specified in the file



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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval
Authored by: bakapetro on Nov 10, '07 05:42:21PM
Another way to change this setting without messing around with text files (not that there is anything wrong with that) is to use Lingon (http://lingon.sourceforge.net/). Time Machine's settings are available under "System Daemons" -> "com.apple.backupd-auto". Change the run interval from "Run it every 1 hour" to whatever you want.

This way, you can even run it at specific times of day (I haven't tested that option, so do it at your own risk).

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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval
Authored by: franc on Sep 16, '10 05:46:53AM

Lingon-Scheduler is not working with me, OSX 10.6.4.
But Time in Seconds is working fine with Lingon.
I didn't change the "Disabled" CheckBox, though this "com.apple.backupd-auto" is marked as disabled, but it runs anyway.



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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval
Authored by: srparker on Feb 12, '08 01:04:54PM
FYI, Apple is reporting this aperture/time machine conflict is fixed in 10.5.2

See http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=306853

Steve

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--
Steve

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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval
Authored by: rkowal on Feb 13, '08 06:48:26AM

Hi. I implemented this hint as instructed, but it never quite worked as advertised. Time Machine would not start backing up at the requested interval (whether this was 24h, or 2h). I then went back to the original setting of 3600sec, but now Time Machine would not even do the normal hourly backups anymore! Only manually could I initiate a backup.

I tried deleting the backup database, changing disk, and starting from scratch. Then, while fooling around with Time Machine, all of a sudden I had a file corruption issue in an important Microsoft Word 2008 doc, and as a result have now lost 1 week's worth of work. Thank you Microsoft, and Mac OS X Hints!
Yes, I know the usual disclaimers. This time, they really have proved justified. I've been burned, and I shall never again implement any Mac OS X hint in my life. I will leave all system settings exactly as the manufacturer intended.
One last favour to ask from the Mac OS X community: how can I make Time Machine behave as normal again? - it still wouldn't do hourly backups. And all of this because I changed one numerical value in a plist file... Nightmare
Thanks for your help
Robert



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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval
Authored by: jayartibee on Feb 14, '08 07:43:10AM

To get it to start working again, deselect your T/M disc and then reselect as if setting up from scratch.



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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval
Authored by: mcmikemn on Mar 20, '08 10:21:54AM

FYI: I had changed the interval using this method a while ago and the change survived some minor system updates, but with one of the latest security updates ("Security Update 2008-002" or, more likely, "Time Machine and AirPort Updates"), com.apple.backupd-auto.plist was reset to the default 3600-second interval.



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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval
Authored by: Dave Nagel on May 29, '08 12:42:43PM

My machine went into an endless reboot (Leopard 10.5.2) after I did this and forgot to change permissions back to normal after making the change. Booted back up in target disk mode and reset the permissions manually via another Mac, and all was well again with the world. So, if you do this, just remember to put the permissions for the file and folder back to normal when you're done.



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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval
Authored by: david-bo on Jul 21, '10 01:12:55AM

Use defaults instead of manual editing, e.g.,

sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto StartInterval -int 21600



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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval
Authored by: st601486 on Oct 19, '10 08:03:30PM

Kind of an old thread, but I've only been playing around with it again recently.

I haven't totally figured this out, but for those that don't want to mess with com.apple.backupd-auto.plist, you may try something like the following:

1. Select a Time Machine disk, but turn Time Machine "Off" in the System Preferences Pane.
2. Create a folder called ~/Library/LaunchAgents if it doesn't already exist.
3. Create a text file with a unique name, e.g. com.macworld.hints.timemachine-kludge.plist in that folder (I used Unicode UTF-8 with Unix line feeds)
4. Type something like the following:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
<key>Label</key>
<string>com.macworld.hints.timemachine-kludge</string>
<key>LowPriorityIO</key>
<true/>
<key>ProgramArguments</key>
<array>
<string>/System/Library/CoreServices/backupd.bundle/Contents/Resources/backupd-helper</string>
</array>
<key>StartCalendarInterval</key>
<dict>
<key>Hour</key>
<integer>4</integer>
<key>Minute</key>
<integer>15</integer>
</dict>
</dict>
</plist>

5. Log out and log back in.

Note 1: In this case, I'm trying to trigger at 4:15 am every day. You really want to specify a minute (even if it's zero) or else the command seems to execute as many times as it can within the hour (e.g. backups at 4:00, 4:06, 4:12, 4:18, 4:24, etc) . If you want it to trigger at multiple arbitrary times, it seems like you can use an array for StartCalendarInterval. For instance:

<key>StartCalendarInterval</key>
<array>
<dict>
<key>Hour</key>
<integer>5</integer>
<key>Minute</key>
<integer>0</integer>
</dict>
<dict>
<key>Hour</key>
<integer>17</integer>
<key>Minute</key>
<integer>0</integer>
</dict>
</array>

Note 2: If you want to use an interval instead, use a key named StartInterval to define a number of seconds instead of dictionary named StartCalendarInterval.

Note 3: I haven't tried it yet, but you might be able to move the plist to /Library/LaunchDaemons/ One thing I found made it sounds like /Library/LaunchAgents would only run once someone logged in?

Note 4: Not sure how I feel about the LowPriorityIO and Nice keys. I made it low priority (maybe a mistake for a backup ... hm), but left nice at the default.

References:
http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=200710291721156
http://www.afp548.com/
http://plist.spotmac.de/
http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1447594
http://hohle.net/scrap_post.php?post=217



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10.5: Set the Time Machine backup interval
Authored by: JPMason09 on May 10, '12 03:43:20AM

I've tried the "Change the 3600 number to some other time interval in seconds", but it told me it wouldn't save as I didn't have permission.

I right-clicked and opened the file, unlocked it, gave myself read-write access, went back into text editor and it STILL won't let me save the change!!

Frustrating, any ideas?



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