How can I customize the schedule at which Time Machine performs its backups?

I am annoyed by looking at the number of times I see the Time Machine backing up several MBs every hour and then the cleanup.

3 Answers 3


Schedule backup for every 4 hours ( 4*60*60 = 14400 )

sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto StartInterval -int 14400

Default is 1 hour ( Rollback procedure )

sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto StartInterval -int 3600

Source: http://osxdaily.com/2012/02/02/change-the-time-machine-backup-schedule/


I would recommend using the app TimeMachineScheduler for this, it provides an easy-to-use graphical interface, and has a lot more features than a simple Terminal-line.

Unlike typing a command into Terminal.app where a typo can potentially create problem, using a graphical user interface is safer.

(source: klieme.com)


Since both answers are not any longer valid as of this writing (MacOS 11 Big Sur), I add what works today: Time Machine Editor (https://tclementdev.com/timemachineeditor/).

The current version 5.1 runs on every MacOS from 10.9 upwards.

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