I'd like to backup my external drives to my NAS using rsync and not Time Machine, because I occasionally want to actually use these files on the remote server.

I'd like to create an APFS snapshot before rsync begins so that the data integrity is preserved (for example in Apple Photos sqlite DB or a docker.raw VM).

It seems that if you run tmutil localsnapshot /Volumes/ExternalData or tmutil snapshot /Volumes/ExternalData, it will not work if that drive is excluded from the time machine backup (as is the case for me, I don't need that data backed up twice to the same target).

Any idea how I can create a snapshot of an external drive that's exluded from Time Machine?

1 Answer 1


This is not an endorsement, but "Carbon Copy Cloner" can do that.


  • Thanks, a valid option although I'd prefer rsync if possible. I'm trying to figure out how CCC can create a snapshot before syncing and then remove the snapshot but I can't see it in the settings. It seems that it just creates snapshots independently regardless of the tasks?
    – odedia
    Commented Apr 18 at 21:36
  • Ok it seems like snapshots are the defaults for backups per the settings screen.
    – odedia
    Commented Apr 18 at 21:46
  • 1
    Apple restricts the creation of APFS snapshots to executables with a special entitlement that is only granted to backup software.
    – Linc D.
    Commented Apr 19 at 1:28
  • I wonder if there's a backup program that allows you to create these snapshots on demand from the command line? That would be sufficient for my needs.
    – odedia
    Commented Apr 19 at 10:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .