Under previous versions of macOS, to get an idea of what Time Machine was up to I could simply open Console.app and enter "backupd" as a filter in order to see lots of useful messages, in particular things like the space required for each volume being backed up, whether a deep traversal (full scan vs. event log) is being used etc., all very useful for examining slow/large/new backups and such.

However, under Sierra Console.app has been redesigned and I can't seem to find any of these messages any more, just some stuff about loading preferences.

So my question is; is it still possible to access the same detailed Time Machine/backupd messages somewhere (not necessarily Console.app), and if so how/where?

2 Answers 2


The answer is yes - the logs are available. Either historical or as they occur.

This is the script I use. The -f argument follows the live Time Machine messages:

# show time machine logs
# -f = follow

PRED='subsystem == "com.apple.TimeMachine" AND processImagePath CONTAINS "backupd"'

if [ $# -gt 0 ]; then
    log stream --style syslog --predicate "$PRED" --info 
    log show   --style syslog --predicate "$PRED" --info | sed -e 's/ localhost / /' \
         -e 's/ (TimeMachine) / /' \
     -e 's/[[]com.apple.TimeMachine.TMLog/[/' \
     -e 's/\.[0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9]\+[0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9] / /'

Note you will need to run this with sudo to access all log data.


You can use the log utility on the command line. Something like:

log show --predicate 'subsystem == "com.apple.TimeMachine"' --info | grep 'upd: (' | cut -c 1-19,140-999

How best to use the Sierra Console.app is a surprisingly complex question that someone else has done a lot of legwork in investigating. I highly recommend this blog post. The same author in a series of posts investigate the apparent uselessness of the new console for very simple tasks. The guy also wrote an app called Consolation which might be a saner console alternative.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .