I have two macOS Mojave macs that back up to a drive. Now, when I’m trying to just grab “backups.backupdb” from one HDD to another,I have this error : copying is almost over and the size of the folder stars increasing,so it continues copying endlessly. I tried “Carbon Copy Cloner” and it refused to copy files even with all permissions in preferences : “Apple doesn’t not support third party utilities to copy TimeMachine Backups”

Should I just ignore backups.backupdb and just copy “Desktop” or “20../../..”(check screenshot)folder from backups.backupdb folder? enter image description here


1 Answer 1


I wouldn’t bother copying. I realize you may have very compelling reasons to try, however.

While you are researching this, start a new backup on the new disk. Set aside the old one until you’re sure you no longer need those backups, then decide to archive it or erase it.

Lets say you have 100 files and time machine backs them up 24 times in a day (once an hour). Instead of a reasonable copy time, you have to wait 20x longer for this copy. If you check how many files you are backing up, the math goes against you being willing to wait quickly.

This backup system is designed to optimize time to restore and to dramatically conserve space on disk, not to be quick to copy a destination.

In summary, the leverage for this copy to work rapidly doesn’t exist so you pay a large time penalty due to how it’s engineered.

  • I just want to relocate my old backups.backupdb from old HHD to a new one.It wasn’t a problem a year ago,but now it is.I don’t have these backups on my Mac,cause those are backups of my old Mac.What can i do about it? Aug 24, 2022 at 9:22
  • 1
    Yes, backups now use APFS snapshots and I don’t believe there’s a way to reverse that change Apple made to your drive when you upgraded your system. Lets see who else has better data or experience than me. You might get several answers to this @accountname - especially if you edit your question to provide the version details needed from my initial comment on your post. Even on Catalina and older, my advice was the same, don’t do this even if you could.
    – bmike
    Aug 24, 2022 at 9:29
  • I have Mojave on new Mac and on old mac Aug 24, 2022 at 9:42
  • Excellent update, I put that in the post for you @accountname
    – bmike
    Aug 24, 2022 at 9:52

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