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Previously (on HFS+ backups), I used TimeTracker to see how big each backup was, and which files were taking up the most space. With APFS TM, TimeTracker no longer works (and is no longer in development, it seems).

I've tried using tmutil compare, however it seems to be mostly useless:

$ sudo tmutil compare 2022-08-16-114352 2022-08-10-205013
Must specify at least one item inside a backup.

I don't want to compare an individual item between two particular backups, I want to see how large all of the backups are, and which directories/files are taking up the most storage, such that I can delete the necessary backups.

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  • Why do you need to delete any backups, vs allowing Time Machine to manage the space? Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 21:48
  • You can't delete individual Time Machine backups. They are protected. As mentioned above, let TM manage the space. Because APFS is being used the actual file versioning is being handled by snapshots behind the scenes, and the public face is presented as discrete 'full' system views at a point-in-time. See BackupLoupe as mentioned in an answer for the insides of each snapshot. Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 22:11
  • @AndyGriffiths You can delete individual TM Backup snapshots with Disk Utility or tmutil. But not individual file/folders across all snapshots. (maybe that is what you meant).
    – Gilby
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 23:30
  • @gilby Um yeah... that's what I meant! (Phew) Good catch, ta. I think I was coming from the POV of managing the backups via Finder. They can't be deleted there. Also I think you mean tmutil or diskutil not the Disk Utility UI. Still sounds a bit dangerous to manage backups that way, unless you really know your onions. I think TM has some other tricks to consolidate as it thins. Commented Aug 17, 2022 at 0:09
  • Agree tampering with TM is fraught with danger. You can do it in Disk Utility (Monterey), but you need to enable View > Show APFS Snapshots.
    – Gilby
    Commented Aug 17, 2022 at 0:17

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You can use the third-party tool BackupLoupe to find out what's taking up the most storage in your Time Machine backups.

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  • Essential utility if you care about TM backups.
    – Gilby
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 23:33

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