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I'm using rsync on top of a mount_apfs snapshots, to backup a consistent file system view and without having to stop applications during the backup.

While so far, it has been working pretty well, from time to time rsync shows messages like:

mount_apfs: snapshot implicitly mounted readonly
file has vanished: "/Users/user/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/Local Storage/leveldb/021794.ldb"
file has vanished: "/Users/user/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/Local Storage/leveldb/021795.ldb"
file has vanished: "/Users/user/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/Local Storage/leveldb/021796.ldb"
rsync warning: some files vanished before they could be transferred (code 24) at main.c(1209) [sender=3.1.3]

Which usually happens when an application interferes with rsync by deleting files in the middle of a backup.

To me, a snapshot is supposed to offer a frozen view of the file system at some point, but maybe it's not exactly like that for an Apple snapshot?

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  • The path shown isn't from a snapshot, though? Snapshots will still mount like a regular volume in /Volumes - the path here is in your root working disk.
    – Ezekiel
    Dec 21 '20 at 13:47
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    Thanks @EzekielElin, I got inspiration from your answer (see below), but the problem is different. rsync lists those paths referring to its source parameter, using /Volumes is just a convention, a filesys can be mounted anywhere.
    – zakmck
    Dec 21 '20 at 15:23
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The problem lies in the way tmutil works for snapshots, I've created a different question about it.

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