I just upgraded my Mac to Mojave and can no longer see any backup volume mounted even though Time Machine is enabled, my disk has enough space, and therefore should be used to store local backups..

tmutil listlocalsnapshots /



So there are snapshots available but I cannot see the internal content of it through the terminal as I use to by typing ls /volumes/Mobilebackups

  • I don't know for sure, but it is my impression that the local snapshots are not made available as a file system. For the ordinary user, the time machine interface provides the only access to the local snapshots. But if there is an API for snapshot access (and I hope there is), it should be technically feasible to write a FUSE filesystem for snapshot access. (Sadly, I have neither the expertise nor time to try such a project myself.) Dec 4, 2018 at 15:01

1 Answer 1


Mojave stores Time Machine snapshots as APFS snapshots.

You can list these snapshots using tmutil:

% tmutil listLocalSnapshots /

These snapshots are not exposed anywhere in the filesystem by default, but they can be mounted manually using mount_apfs:

% sudo mkdir /Volumes/snap
% sudo mount_apfs -o ro -s com.apple.TimeMachine.2018-12-04-123456 / /Volumes/snap

Make sure to unmount the snapshot when you are done with it:

% sudo umount -f /Volumes/snap
  • ty a lot worked just wondering why is there only 1 snapshot listed? it ain't supposed to make several snaps a day ?
    – Raska
    Dec 5, 2018 at 17:58
  • Is it documented anywhere? I was always wondering what can I do with localsnapshot, other than tmutil and TM GUI.
    – amdyes
    Dec 6, 2018 at 6:30
  • @Raska Weird -- I've got a whole bunch of local snapshots. Is your hard drive almost full? Maybe they're being pruned.
    – user101978
    Dec 6, 2018 at 7:56
  • @amdyes man tmutil has some information. Not much, though.
    – user101978
    Dec 6, 2018 at 7:57
  • 1
    exactly what i was looking for, now i can search my snapshots - see: gist.github.com/nlitsme/dc309d3ba72a3de24da4f6c5bcce136e Nov 14, 2019 at 8:57

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