In addition to the usual incremental backups to external media, Time Machine also automatically creates, manages, and prunes local APFS snapshots. These snapshots can be viewed in Time Machine's Finder-esque UI just like the incremental backups to external media. So, you can use these Time Machine snapshots to view recent versions of your file system, say to retrieve an old file that was just deleted using
It appears Time Machine will only automatically create local snapshots after it is configured to backup to external media. Is it possible to enable automatic APFS snapshots without enabling Time Machine backups to external media?