I tried TimeTracker, tms and timedog but none of them works with OS X 10.6

Any suggestions?

4 Answers 4


Lion has come out with the tmutil command and the man page shows that it will crawl a specific backup and report very detailed information on your specific backups. The verbs compare, uniquesize, and calculatedrift look most useful if you don't mind the terminal.

I still use BackupLoupe on Lion (as well as on older OS) and have high praise and thanks to the team that built it every time I need to use it. I should probably send them more money, too. It's that good.

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It makes it very easy to see what files are taking the most space between backups and also is indispensable for knowing when a specific file has been changed by tracking each time it is saved as a new version going back in time. It works on a local database so you are not crawling the filesystem each and every query - just once each time to collect the deltas for each backup. enter image description here

  • 1
    BackupLoupe - great tip. Solved my problem, too many caches and extra app specific backups inside ~/Libary/Application Support.
    – Alex Soto
    May 31, 2013 at 20:59

Since Time Machine uses hardlinks to store unmodified files (and directories), this would mean that changed files in the latest backup will have a link count of 1 since they are unique. Use this together with find to generate a listing:

find /path/to/your/latest/backup -type f -links 1 -print 
  • 1
    This doesn't work. It just displays all files.
    – Roman Prikhodchenko
    Jun 10, 2011 at 11:04
  • Actually - this does work for me. I tested several folders with more than 2000 photos, and each time it picked out the 20 or 200 ( or zero) files that were new that backup. I still like soma-zone.com/BackupLoupe but this seems to answer the question as to what's new in a backup with a clever and speedy find command.
    – bmike
    Jun 10, 2011 at 15:09

You can use the built in tmutil and GNU gsort:

brew install coreutils

To compare between two specific backups:

cd "/Volumes/TimeMachine/Backups.backupdb/My Mac"
sudo tmutil compare Date1 Date2 | gsort -h -k2

For just the difference between the current backup and the previous backup:

sudo tmutil listbackups | tail -n 2 | awk '{ print "\""$0"\""}' | xargs tmutil compare | gsort -h -k2
  • Note that using APFS, the path to the backups is now something like /Volumes/.timemachine/[UUID]/2023-04-26-170302.backup/2023-04-26-170302.backup/, see apple.stackexchange.com/a/436157/198134
    – abyrd
    Apr 26, 2023 at 10:59

The problem with that find command seems to be that HFS allows hard links on directories as well as regular files. As a result, files that have not been backed up for a while will show up with one link but one of their parent directories may have many links.

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