I am using a Mac Book Pro with Ventura 13.0.1. I've followed the answer to How can I manually delete files and folders from a Time Machine backup volume? to delete files from a Time Machine backup, but after right clicking on the file to find the delete button all that appears to select are 3 options Get Info, Quick-look and Copy (no delete)

I am using an external flash drive for time machine backups. In error, I initially backuped all Apps which I gather is a waste of space on my external back-up drive, so I wanted to delete one file (my one drive) to see if that would work.

So how can I remove files from a Time Machine backup nowadays?


1 Answer 1


You can't delete backed-up files in Time Machine on APFS. You can read more about this here:

It is still possible with HFS+ disks. Deleted files from your main SDD / HDD will be tidied up automatically as the device fills up to provide more backup space.

Also, having a backup of your apps is good practice. It's not particularly useful to exclude large parts of your machine as Time Machine can function as a restore source in the event of a complete machine loss or corruption. Note that the system will automatically exclude certain things on its own eg. caches and the secure system volume.

Ideally you want an external device greater or equal in size to your internal disk to make it an effective solution.

  • i cannot confirm that option is still there with HFS+ TM volumes on 'Sonoma' Nov 10, 2023 at 19:22

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