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I recently reinstalled macOS Monterey (12.0.1) on my MacBook Air (Intel, 2020) and restored data from my Time Machine backup; APFS format.

That went well, but after I did this it seems like my external storage drive, named “Storage”, now has an older clone next to it called “Storage 1” in recent snapshots. See screenshot below of snapshot 2021-11-26-113550.

I assume some kind of identifier for the system and drive itself changed when the restore happened. I am fine with that. But this fairly useless — and redundant — “Storage 1” is taking up about 700GB of space.

I can’t seem to just delete it as a Time Machine backup is “Read Only” to the Finder and Terminal since this is the newer Time Machine format that uses APFS and snapshots instead of HFS+ and a standard filesystem scheme.

What can I do to toss this “Storage 1” folder in the snapshots and free up that 700GB?

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2 Answers 2

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With Time Machine to APFS (TMA), it is not possible to delete particular folders inside any Time Machine snapshots. This is the only downside of the change from TMH (Time Machine to HFS) to TMA.

It is possible to delete whole snapshots from TMA using tmutil command. I have done this under Big Sur, but I have seen some doubts cast on whether this is still possible for Monterey. But deleting whole snapshots is not what you are wanting.

I suggest you start with a new Time Machine disk/volume and, at some point, discard your old backups. With sufficient free space on your existing TM disk you can create a new volume in Disk Utility and start a new Time Machine backup to that. Otherwise you need another physical disk.

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  • Okay, this answer makes sense. But for my own knowledge, this Storage 1 folder is what exactly? If it is not a snapshot, it’s a folder, correct? Nov 26, 2021 at 22:04
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    Each TM snapshot (like your 2021-11-26-113550) has content of volumes known to that backup snapshot. I would call Storage and Storage 1 volumes inside the backup, but really that is just the way Finder presents pictorially the collection of folders and files that came from those particular source volumes.
    – Gilby
    Nov 26, 2021 at 22:25
  • You know what? I decided to wipe the drive and start from scratch. The issue is that in the state it‘s in, Time Machine only provides me about 4-5 backups, which is effectively about a lone day’s worth of backups, while in this state on a 2TB SSD drive. Meaning I can wait for an answer, but effectively have a useless pile of backups. Wiping it out brings me back to a true delta-based setup with the 700GB freed up. Thanks for the help! And if someone comes along with a more specific answer to this issue, I might the answer check to them. But I am not holding my breath about it. Thanks again! Nov 27, 2021 at 17:44
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    @Giacomo1968 Sadly, the right decision I think.
    – Gilby
    Nov 27, 2021 at 20:28
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You can use tmutil associatedisk to associate the old storage backup directory with the active drive and that will allow Time Machine to carry the old backup history and avoid the duplicate entry:

sudo tmutil associatedisk /Volumes/Storage "/Volumes/{TimeMachineDrive}/Backups.backupdb/{MachineDirectory}/Latest/Storage 1"

Or if you just want to get rid of the "Storage 1" backup and don't care about the history, you can use the earlier command, but instead, associate the "Storage 1" directory with a volume that is excluded from backups.

For example plug a USB drive e.g. /Volumes/USB, it should be automatically excluded from backups by Time Machine. Then you can run:

sudo tmutil associatedisk /Volumes/USB "/Volumes/{TimeMachineDrive}/Backups.backupdb/{MachineDirectory}/Latest/Storage 1"

In the next backup, Time Machine will wipe the "Storage 1" directory.

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  • Good info! Will be sure to try this out the next time this happens. Mar 9, 2022 at 17:00
  • Just a follow up to this answer: This doesn’t work for Time Machine backups that use the more modern APFS format kind of backup. This method that refers to the “Backups.backupdb” directory won’t work because on these new APFS Time Machine backups there is no path like that. This is the “older” version of Time Machine; two distinctly different things. Nov 20, 2022 at 1:38

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