How to Change the Time Machine Backup Interval

root's picture

I know and you know that backup is vital but sometimes it is too often! And the mighty Apple, on some applications, especially on Time Machine, doesn't give you many things to configure. Thanks God for the Terminal!

Now, let's assume you know what and where the terminal is and open it (If not, do a spotlight search ;).
You want to see the current backup interval (which is one hour in seconds, meaning 3600):

mbpro:~ florian$ sudo defaults read /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto
{
    Disabled = 1;
    EnableTransactions = 1;
    KeepAlive = 0;
    Label = "com.apple.backupd-auto";
    ProgramArguments =     (
        "/System/Library/CoreServices/backupd.bundle/Contents/Resources/backupd-helper",
        "-auto"
    );
    RunAtLoad = 0;
    SHAuthorizationRight = "system.preferences";
    StartInterval = 3600;
}

Now, you want to change the value from one hour to four. For this, you type:

mbpro:~ florian$ sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto StartInterval -int 14400
Password: (you put here your user's password)

And voila! You have your time modified:

mbpro:~ florian$ sudo defaults read /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto
{
    Disabled = 1;
    EnableTransactions = 1;
    KeepAlive = 0;
    Label = "com.apple.backupd-auto";
    ProgramArguments =     (
        "/System/Library/CoreServices/backupd.bundle/Contents/Resources/backupd-helper",
        "-auto"
    );
    RunAtLoad = 0;
    SHAuthorizationRight = "system.preferences";
    StartInterval = 14400;
}

Easy, huh?
...Or if you are lazy and don't want to do the interesting stuff above, just download time machine editor.

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If you want to use this information on your own website, please remember: by doing copy/paste entirely it is always stealing and you should be ashamed of yourself!
Have at least the decency to create your own text and comments and run the commands on your own servers and provide your output, not what I did!

Or at least link back to this website.