The Fix: Schedule Time Machine Backups

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“The Fix” is a new feature you’ll see at least once a week here at Apple Gazette, where we highlight a downloadable utility or extension that fixes a problem in OS X or iOS. First up: stop Time Machine from slowing you down! This smart download lets YOU decide when Time Machine will backup your files.

If you do a lot of work on your Mac — particularly online, like yours truly — you probably know what it’s like to experience the excruciating slow-down when Time Machine decides to perform a backup. Apple leaves this decision entirely in Time Machine’s hands, giving you no option for designating a convenient interval of time when a backup can take place without interrupting your workflow.

Apparently, Stefan Klieme feels your pain. He’s created a System Preferences extension that’s a must-have for anyone suffering from Time Machine Interruptus. Time Machine Scheduler provides everything you need to bring Time Machine under your control. It adds this screen to System Preferences:

Time Machine Preferences

The main thing to note is the area labeled “Backup Interval.” From there, you can set your backups to take place anywhere from hourly to every twelve hours. You can also set it to run a backup automatically at startup or login.

Naturally, this little gem works only with Leopard or better (but then, so does Time Machine). And it comes with the usual disclaimer: Time Machine Scheduler is distributed “as is,” without warranty, and as such you should use it at your own risk.

I’m running it on Lion without any discernable issues at all (so far). If you give it a try, please let us know if it works for you by leaving feedback in the Comments below.

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

One thought on “The Fix: Schedule Time Machine Backups

  1. It’s cool, and it works (just like Time Machine Editor… but I like the exclusion ability on this one).

    However, what BOTH miss is the ability to PREVENT a backup when on battery power, which comes as default on the standard Mac hourly setup. I do NOT want a backup when I’m only on battery power!

    Also, most of the problems with slow Backups on Lion are to do with a MAJOR issue with Indexing AND spotlight (I’m sure they’re two different issues, but many are linking them as one – either way it’s a big big issue). For the short time I have when Time Machine runs normally without trying to reindex or rebuild Spotlight, I don’t really notice any “significant” slowdown.

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