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. There’s no way around it, having backups of your Mac is critical, and advanced users may benefit from scheduling the Time Machine backups.
Scheduling Time Machine backups on a Mac is useful for many reasons, whether for management or administrative purposes, or simply because you want to change how often the backups occur. For example, Time Machine can be a bit aggressive sometimes, and by default it backs up all changes every hour that a drive is connected or within range. While that is great for backup purposes, it 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. Whatever the reason, we’ll show you how to adjust backup schedules from the Terminal, or with a super easy to use Preference Pane called TimeMachineScheduler.
How to Manually Change Time Machine Backup Schedule in Mac OS X with Terminal
Using the command line and a defaults write trick, you can manually adjust the Time Machine backup schedule. To get started, launch Terminal and then adjust the command sequence as desired.
The defaults command to adjust the Time Machine backup interval is as follows, it 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
Hit return and the default backup schedule will be restored again.
The Terminal method is a bit advanced, meaning it’s better for users who are comfortable with the command line. It works in all versions of Mac system software, including OS X Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Snow Leopard, etc. But 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 for OS X
TimeMachineScheduler works with Mac OS X 10.9, 10.8, 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.
Do you schedule your Time Machine backups? Do you let them run their course? Do you start and complete backups manually? As long as you’re backing up your Mac on a regular basis, you should be good to go.