Mastering Time Machine Bakups

Tips and Tricks on mastering macOS Time Machine backup

Exclude unnecessary files

Time Machine excludes a lot of files and directories you don’t need to be backed up by default. There is a file that contains all those locations:


Individual programs can also mark particular files to not be backed up. Typically, this includes caches and other temporary files. You can find a list of these exempt files by running the following command in the Terminal:

sudo mdfind "com_apple_backup_excludeItem = ''"

However, you always have things that change frequently on your drive that you don’t need to backup. Here is my list of exclusions.

What to exclude from backup?

  • ~./npm
  • ~/Downloads
  • ~/Temp
  • ~/Dropbox