Use TimeMachineEditor to save your sanity

I love macOS’s Time Machine backup feature. It’s saved me once already, when I accidentally deleted my Documents folder while trying to move my stuff to iCloud.

However, my NAS, a Synology DS215+ with two 2TB WD Red HDDs, is very noisy in my small office. The drives were designed for reliability and longevity, not noise reduction. I usually use my AirPod Pro’s noise cancellation, but often I just want to sit in silence with no music, and definitely don’t want to hear the chaotic crunchy sounds of backups happening.

Clearly, we need some scheduling to happen! Unfortunately Time Machine is too simple, and you only get 3 options: turn on or off automatic backups, select a location, and exclude folders.

Time Machine preferences pane

The Solution: TimeMachineEditor

After some searching for utilities that aren’t out of date, I found TimeMachineEditor by tclement. You can set calendar intervals, a do-not-backup time range, and some other handy options.

TimeMachineEditor preferences

I kept local snapshots every hour turned on, since making APFS snapshots is noiseless on my Mac’s SSD, and they can get uploaded later to my NAS during the time window I set.

There’s also some Time Machine command line preferences you can set, but I’m not sure how out of date they are, and I’m trying to avoid changing preferences via defaults because as far as I can tell there’s no way to see what was changed and what is the default value without installing another copy of macOS and comparing the two.

It’s possible TimeMachineEditor uses the same method to change settings, but it makes it easier to toggle those settings if there’s an issue.

Sweet silence

Now my ADHD brain can work get distracted by writing blog posts in peace.