The rare times I open my Time Machine backup folder, I see "Recovery" appearing for each backup.

For example: Recovery Volume appears in each Time Machine backup Since I don't really need Recovery in Time Machine (as far as I know, each bootable drive has its own Recovery volume which you would boot from in case of emergency) and that Recovery volume represents at least a gig per backup, I'm wondering if there is a way to exclude the Recovery volume from being backed up.

Or am I wrong about my assumption that the Recovery volume in a Time Machine backup not necessary for restoring a completely borked drive?

  • 1
    If the recovery folder stays the same, it is 1GB for all backups together. Time Machine backups by only copying changed media. Therefore your first backup takes quite sime time, but the incremental ones afterward will be much faster, depending on how much data has changed.
    – X_841
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 7:30
  • TM shouldn't backup anything that's not mounted - is one of your Recoveries mounted?
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 10:17
  • No, recovery is never explicitly mounted, but it always appears in the list of volumes backed up. Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


First, open system preferences.

enter image description here Next, open the time machine pane of system preferences. Wait for any ongoing backups to complete, then click the options button in the bottom right hand corner: enter image description here

From here, click the plus icon in the bottom right corner, select the folder you want to EXCLUDE from backups (in this case recovery), and hit save. You can also select an external drive (most likely already in there) and hit minus to have that drive backed up as well.

enter image description here

  • You can't select anything that's not mounted, & Recovery should never be mounted.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 16:31
  • Recovery is never mounted, so I'm not sure why it's always appearing under every backup. Regardless, the unmounted volume can't be explicitly excluded via Time Machine preferences. Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 21:58
  • @MichaelDautermann Oh - that reminds me of something. Once I let TM backup my flash drive, thinking I'd want to keep a backup of it. I never used my flash drive since then, but the flash drive kept showing up in every backup. So I erased the disk & re-added it as a disk, and the flash drive stopped showing up. Maybe try this? Commented Jun 25, 2022 at 1:32

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