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Alternatively is it possible to enable this as a configuration option?

I know that it's possible to export a diff between two Time Machine backups, however, it takes ages, it literally takes an hour over a network drive - therefore it's almost unusable except for a very narrow use case when the value of that information is so high that it's worth a high cpu, high network one hour long operation.

In case it's familiar to someone, I'm interested in something like Synology's HyperBackup does: it keeps a CSV file of all modified files during a backup.

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    What do you plan to use this information for?
    – benwiggy
    Jun 30, 2021 at 10:22
  • I think the simple answer is no. If the TM is under APFS and on BigSur the diffs might be quicker as they are between snapshots. But the answer is probably use Backup Loupe It does not give a .csv but does provide an interface to investigate. It will take a long time to process all the diffs but that is a one off cost
    – mmmmmm
    Jun 30, 2021 at 10:24
  • It's a pity that it does not work, TM backup compare with tmutil also takes ages. True, I last tried it on Catalina, might give another try on Big Sur. Thanks @mmmmmm for the tip on Backup Loupe. Jun 30, 2021 at 15:07
  • The difference is not the osbutmorethe file system
    – mmmmmm
    Jun 30, 2021 at 15:12

3 Answers 3

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No, Time Machine does not keep such a log. The only way to generate such an overview is to compare two backups. You can cache that information so it only has to be done once, but it is still a relatively intensive task that needs to be performed by third party software.

There's no option or setting that makes Time Machine keep such a log.

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I use a perl script called timedog, which fairly quickly provides a list of those files added to any given backup. By default, the last backup.

https://github.com/nlfiedler/timedog

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  • Thanks @benwiggy, this is the closest this question received so far. It's still a pity that TM doesn't have this built in. Jun 30, 2021 at 15:08
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Depending on how you want to use these lists, a tool like BackupLoupe can come in extremely handy to make an online database of file changes that you can search without needing the drives to be cataloged or searched at query time.

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