Helpful Terminal Commands For Working With Time Machine 0


Helpful Terminal Commands For Working With Time Machine


There are a variety of commands within Terminal to access Time Machine. These Terminal commands are useful in starting and stopping time machine backups, and seeing when the latest backups occurred. They are a great way of accessing basic information from Time Machine, or executing a time machine backup. Last week I talked about starting and stopping local snap shots of Time Machine, this post is an extension of those previous commands.

If you don’t have Time Machine setup, I recommend you buy an external hard disk or a Time Capsule and get it up and running. It is the best way to backup your Mac’s data.

Terminal Commands For Time Machine

There are a variety of different terminal commands. The basic way to start and stop is with the following.

Start and Stop Time Machine

To start a Time Machine backup enter:

tmutil startbackup

This will start a backup once you hit enter.

If you want to stop a backup currently in progress you type:

tmutil stopbackup

Enable and Disable Time Machine

If you want to enable or disable Time Machine from Terminal you type the following, this will enable Time Machine on your Mac. Note that you need to enter you admin password for this to work.

sudo tmutil enable

If you wish to disable Time Machine from Terminal you enter the following:

sudo tmutil disable

Determine When The Latest Full Backup Occurred

You can determine when the latest backup occurred. This will give the file path of the last full backup. If you have more than one backup disk, it will give the hard drive where the files are stored. To find this date enter:

tmutil latestbackup

It will give an output similar to the following:

/Volumes/Big Bytes/Backups.backupdb/James Powells MacBook Pro/2013-04-24-195642

Where the date is in the format year, month, day, hour, minute and second. Note that this is only the correct wayto format dates.

List Backup Dates

The final command is used to list the previous backups. this gives and output very similar to the previous command, however it will list every backup. If you use more than one disk to backup to it will give the hard drive names.

tmutil listbackups


There are a variety of other commands which you use within Terminal to access Time Machine files, however it is simpler to use the Time Machine app for this. For more information you can use the help file which is accessed through man tmutil.

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