I understand how Apple advertises Time Machine to work, but I want to know more in-depth.

Does it keep track of all file changes in a database or flat file that you make as you work so that it knows during the next backup process what to copy? It seems as when it does begin to backup, it happens so quick, so there must be some knowledge of file changes.

  • You had several questions in here. This site works better when there is only one question per question. That way, it's easier for other people to find solutions if they have the same problem. I've edited out your other questions, but feel free to ask them separately. – nohillside May 21 '14 at 6:13

The first place to look for some in-depth Time Machine information is the late James Pond's web site: pondini.org. Details about how Time Machine is aware of file changes are in http://pondini.org/TM/Works.html.

It has not been updated since August 2013, but is still the best single source for Time Machine answers.

  • Thanks but it does not answer the first two questions. – user78660 May 21 '14 at 0:24
  • I was treating your specific questions as samples of the need for some in-depth info. Q1: See File System Event Store in pondini.org/TM/Works.html Q2: I don't know. Q3: No, and not even on the same Mac – Gilby May 21 '14 at 0:30
  • 1
    @Gilby is %100 correct. The link he provides is to "How Time Machine Works, and It's magic." That more than provides an answer for your first paragraph. It only backups up changes on an hourly basis - not full backups every hour. I would't worry about (2). If it says finishing and completes, the incremental backup is completed - as long as you don't receive an error, you shouldn't worry about sudden jump in progress. As for (3), no, as already noted. – njboot May 21 '14 at 3:48

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