Change the Time Machine Backup Schedule
Every Mac owner should be using Time Machine, it’s by far the easiest and most painless backup solution, running in the background and allowing for easy recovery of files or the entire operating system should something go wrong during an OS X update or otherwise. That said, Time Machine is a bit aggressive, and backs up all changes every hour that a drive is connected or within range, this is great for backup purposes but can be a nuisance when it hogs disk I/O and CPU cycles from other tasks. The easiest way to avoid this is to adjust the backup schedule, and we’ll show you how to do this from the Terminal, or with a super easy to use Preference Pane called TimeMachineScheduler.
Manually Changing Time Machine Backup Schedule
Using the command line and defaults write, you can manually adjust the Time Machine backup schedule. This command belongs on a single line:
sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto StartInterval -int 14400
The last number is the time interval in seconds, making hours grouped by 3600 second segments. If you wanted to wait 4 hours between backups, the number would be 14400, and so on. The default setting is one hour, or 3600 seconds, which can be restored with:
sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto StartInterval -int 3600
If you don’t like the command line, or if you want more control over when Time Machine runs, your best bet is the free TimeMachineScheduler app for Mac OS X.
Adjust Time Machine Schedule & Interval with TimeMachineScheduler
TimeMachineScheduler works with Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.6, and allows for simple and precise controls over when Time Machine runs. Just as with the defaults write commands, you can adjust the backup interval, but perhaps most useful is the ability to skip backups between scheduled times. Don’t want Time Machine to run during your peak productivity hours of 9am and 2pm? Set the time period to block in the app.
TimeMachineScheduler also lets you restrict backups only to a specified network connection and SSID, which is a great touch for those who use Time Capsules or backups over wifi.
Heads up to The Graphic Mac for finding TimeMachineScheduler