How To Turn Off Time Machine On Mac

Time Machine is considered to be one of the most useful features available on all Apple MacBooks. It is built to automatically back up all the personal data, apps, files, images, videos, and everything else you have on your Mac. This will help you regain access to all the files if you mistakenly deleted them. But if you do not have enough space left on your system, you can simply turn it off.

To turn off Time Machine on Mac, you can either choose to switch off the auto backup or pause the backup that is currently going on. Click on the Apple icon on the top-left corner of the screen and then select System Preferences. Next, open Time Machine from the menu option on the screen. Simply uncheck the box beside Back up Automatically.

The process is easier than it may sound, and with only a few simple steps, you can stop the time machine. Also, if the time machine is already in progress and you are looking to turn it off, you can make changes from the menu bar itself. Here is a detailed idea of how you can move forward.

How To Turn Off Time Machine On Mac

You can turn off the time machine on Mac by following a few simple steps as given below. We will be simply turning off the auto backup to save the storage on the device.

  • Tap on the Apple Icon on the top-left corner of the desktop
  • Now, open the System Preferences. You can directly open this from the dock as well and tap on the Gear Icon.
  • Look for the Time Machine option on the screen and click on it.
  • Now, simply uncheck the box beside Back up Automatically.
turn off time machine on mac

Once you do that, you can then turn off Time Machine from taking backups all the time by itself. From now, you will have to create a backup of your entire system manually.

How To Turn Off Time Machine while in Progress

Now, even if you have not selected auto backup for your data on a time machine, it can still perform a backup. In such cases, you can choose to turn it off or pause the backup from the menu bar. Here is how you can do it.

  • Click on the Time Machine icon on the top menu bar
  • Now, simply choose to Skip this Backup to stop the current backup in progress.
how to turn off time machine on mac

This will turn off the backup. You can then choose to start the backup again by clicking on the option that says Back up Now.

Read How to Zoom Out on Mac

Time Machine Will Not Stop Backing Up, How to Fix

There are multiple instances where your backup is in progress, and it takes hours to back up the entire system. Now, you can choose to stop the backup, but it doesn’t seem to be an option as well. In such cases, you can try out certain methods and fix the issue.

1. External Hard Disk is Not Compatible

The reason your backup is stuck and causing errors is that your External Drive, where all your data is being backed up, is not compatible with completing the process. In such cases, you need to format the drive and then continue with the process.

Here is how you can do it.

  • Go to the menu bar and turn off the Time Machine or Force Quit it.
  • Open Finder and then click on Applications.
  • Go to Utilities Folder and select Disk Utility.
  • Here select your External Hard Drive and click on Erase Tab option
  • Set the option to HFS+ (Mac OS Extended Journaled) and then click on Erase

This will take a few minutes, and then your disk will be compatible with the backup

2. Restart Your Mac

The next method you can try is simply restarting your Mac. You can first try to turn off the time machine manually; if that does not work, you might have to force quit your Mac and try the backup process again sometime.

  • Tap the Apple icon on the top-left corner of the desktop
  • Now, click on Restart
  • In the next window, uncheck the box beside Reopen windows when logging back in and select Restart.

Your time machine will now turn off or quit automatically with your system and restart. This will help to fix any issue with the Time Machine.

3. Update your Mac

Lastly, your last resort to fix any error is updating your system. There are situations where the current Mac OS has bugs which is why Apple brings about necessary updates. So, you need to update your system.

  • Open System Preferences and click on Software Update
  • Now, tap on Update Now

Your system will start updating and restart to make the changes. After which, you can try the backup process again, which might fix the issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Time Machine on Mac Necessary?

Time Machine is the most useful tool on your Mac. With a single click, it can back up all your data safely. Yes, it is necessary since all the backed-up files are secure and safe and you can restore them if you have deleted them from your system at any point. It does not work like cloud services where the data is only synchronized and not taken as a backup.

2. What happens if I delete Time Machine on Mac?

You can choose to delete the Time Machine backup on your system all by yourself. It will be permanently gone once you delete them. However, your system also tends to do the same automatically if and when you run low on storage capacity. In order to create a more recent backup, it will delete the old ones.

3. How do I remove Time Machine from my hard drive?

You can easily remove any backup taken on your Time Machine. This is useful, especially when you are running low on storage. Start with opening Time Machine by clicking on the icon on the menu bar. Choose the backup you want to delete and tap on the gear icon. From here, you can just click on the Delete option, and you are done.


Here is all you need to know on how you can turn off Time Machine on Mac. The steps are the easiest, and you can easily follow them to stop the backup of all your files on the system. In fact, if your backup is stuck at any point, this might come in handy at all times.

The best part of Time Machine is that if you have chosen auto backup, your system will always be backed up, and you no longer have to worry about deleted files. Furthermore, you can even back up all by yourself to your external drive with a few simple steps.

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