TimeMachineEditor is a software for macOS that starts backups in Time Machine at particular times. You can choose an interval or create other types of scheduling (see the screenshots below).

This is useful if you don’t need to backup every hour and don’t want the performance penalty. For example you might be frequently creating or modifying files which would cause long-running backup operations throughout the day.


TimeMachineEditor 5.1.9 (2021, May 9) - macOS 10.9 or newer

If you are a Homebrew user: brew install --cask timemachineeditor

Note to Catalina and Big Sur users

In macOS Catalina and Big Sur, a security dialog might prevent you from installing the application claiming that Apple cannot check it for malicious software. Apple (the trillion dollar company) is forcing developers to pay $99/year in order to get rid of this dialog and deliver free software to our users, this I do not agree with. All developers contribute to the platform and buy a fair amount of Apple devices which should be plenty enough money back into Apple's pockets to provide free signing certificates and notarization.

You can still install: control-click the installer package, then choose Open from the shortcut menu, then click Open. Alternatively you can install version 5.0.8 (which was graciously notarized by Apple at the time) and update from within the application (main application menu > Check for Updates). If you're a Homebrew user you can also install the app without a problem (via cask).

How does it work?

TimeMachineEditor starts backups in Time Machine when it is most appropriate, the whole backup process is still handled by Time Machine. TimeMachineEditor does not make changes to your system, it simply runs as an alternative scheduler to start your backups. Therefore it is safe and easy to use.

Command Line Tool

The tmectl(1) command line tool allows to print and modify settings, enable/disable the scheduler and uninstall the application. Just fire up the command without any argument to see its usage.


Should I disable automatic backups in System Preferences > Time Machine?

Yes. Doing this disables the default one-hour scheduler which is what you want since you will now be using TimeMachineEditor to schedule the backups.

Do I need to keep the application running or launch it at login time?

No. You just need to use the application when you want to change the settings.

Will it back up while the machine is sleeping?

TimeMachineEditor supports Power Nap which you can enable in System Preferences > Energy Saver. If you are using a laptop computer, make sure you are on the “Power Adapter” tab, as this feature only works when connected to AC power. If you have an Apple Silicon machine, Power Nap is always enabled.

How does TimeMachineEditor preserve/discard backups?

TimeMachineEditor does not change that, it is handled by Time Machine. Time Machine will coalesce and discard backups as described in System Preferences > Time Machine.

What are local snapshots?

Local snapshots are APFS snapshots. They are very fast to make, stored on the local disk and provide additional restoration points. Since they are local they do not protect against a disk crash but can be useful if the machine goes away from the backup disk for awhile. The lifetime of snapshots is not well defined but they usually live no longer than 24 hours.

You can't totally disable snapshots. New snapshots are created every time a regular backup is made (snapshots are used as the data sources for the backups). That's how Time Machine works.

How do I uninstall TimeMachineEditor?

Just select the “Uninstall...” command located under the application main menu. Alternatively the tmectl(1) command line tool can be used with the “uninstall” argument.


TimeMachineEditor is totally free to use. Donations contribute to the web hosting and developer account fees.

You can donate via paypal.


You can contact me by email at timemachineeditor@tclementdev.com.

Additional screenshots