I would like to back up my Time Machine files off site using borg (basically copy them into cloud storage). Here is what my Time Machine drive looks like:

Time Machine drive

However, when I look at it via the terminal:

❯ ls -la
drwx------     - username   25 Mar  2022 .Spotlight-V100/
drwxr-xr-x@    - root        7 Feb 20:38 2023-02-07-203923.previous/
.rw-r--r--@ 7.9k root        7 Feb 20:39 backup_manifest.plist

I'm fairly sure these are not the complete files, as the size is incorrect. According to Get Info, this drive uses 417.03 GB, but du shows much less:

/Volumes/Backup🔒 took 2s
❯ sudo /usr/bin/du -hs .
211G    .

Is there a way to access all of the data or am I just out of luck? I understand I could back up the files manually, but backing up the Time Machine backup would be a lot easier.

  • 2
    Rotate the drives, not the files on them.
    – Allan
    Feb 9 at 0:13
  • @Allan maybe you don't understand? I want to put the files into off site storage in the cloud. I edited my post for clarification.
    – Wad
    Feb 9 at 2:07
  • I highly discourage this strategy of backing up a backup. See this question which probably makes this a dupe: apple.stackexchange.com/q/308473/119271
    – Allan
    Feb 9 at 2:12
  • 1
    It's an indexed differential backup. In other words, the files there are only the ones that have changed since the last backup. Example: if you change file A on MWF, and file B on TRSS, you'll have 3 versions of A and 4 versions of B and none will be in a single file. If you start to split it out, you're going to need a way to ensure everything is right where it's supposed to be or you're going to absolutely blitz Time Machine.
    – Allan
    Feb 9 at 2:26
  • 1
    To add to the things said above, did you consider your recovery strategy? Specifically, do you want to recover your Time Machine drive from the borg archive in case the TM drive gets lost, or do you want to recover data from the borg archive back to your Mac directly?
    – nohillside
    Feb 9 at 14:11


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