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On OS X, does Time Machine need the index maintained by Spotlight? Will disabling Spotlight completely (via mdutil) affect Time Machine?

  • Are you talking about disabling Spotlight on your main drive(the one getting backed up) OR on the Time Machine drive (the one with the backup)? – nohillside Jul 16 '14 at 7:39
  • @patrix I re-enabled (after completely deleting the index) Spotlight on my main drive and now Time Machine needs a very long time to create a backup. – ben Jul 16 '14 at 10:50
  • This may also be caused by Spotlight running in parallel to Time Machine. Has the index already been completely been rebuilt before TM started? – nohillside Jul 16 '14 at 11:03
  • @patrix Yes, I let the indexer finish its work and only afterwards connected the TM drive. I did not change a lot of files after the last backup - nothing which would justify TM "preparing" the backup for two hours. (I have stopped it then and not finished the current backup yet.) – ben Jul 16 '14 at 11:20
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Maybe it changed ever since, but these days I think the given answer Nope is wrong.

Apple explained this by stating:

If you add a Time Machine backup disk to the privacy list, you will 
continue to see messages that Spotlight is indexing your backup disk. 
This indexing is necessary for Time Machine to function properly and 
can’t be disabled. Spotlight does exclude from searches any items 
you store on your backup disk that are not part of a Time Machine
backup.

I have just tried adding my TM backup drive to the exclusion list in Catalina 10.15.4 and it was refused stating that I cannot add a Timemachine Backup to the privacy list of spotlight. - Others have tried the same in Mojave 10.14.2, in Sierra and High Sierra, with the same result.

Again others have tried doing this more ingeniously in the command line, only to find that mdworker continued to access the backups making indexes.

Oddly, though, Apple has removed its earlier article(s) about this altogether, and there is no longer any official line as to whether it’s possible.

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-3

Nope.

Meta note: why 30 the char minimum?

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  • 1
    You could consider adding information why instead of putting a meta note which makes no sense. – Rob Jul 16 '14 at 6:17
  • I have none, it's a simple experiment, the result can be checked by anybody. – Alexander - Reinstate Monica Jul 16 '14 at 6:34

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