What to Do When Time Machine Backups Are Stuck in Trash

Although Time Machine automatically takes old backups to maintain the total backup size under the maximum of the disk you use, you may want to move the backup to a different, larger disk for a more meaningful backup.

To move a backup you just temporarily deactivate Time Machine, then move the Backup. backupdb folder to the new drive. Then open the Time Machine and set your new drive for the destination.

They will locate both of the old copies and place them where they left off. Here in this article, we will learn about the possible alternatives which will help you in handling this type of situation.

Why Does This Happen?

If you are trying to delete a Time Machine backup on a drive and you find a certain message stating the trash can not be discharged from the Mac trash because the system integrity protection does not allow certain items in the trash to be deleted.

This amazing SIP feature in macOS prevents certain damages to your device very conveniently especially the OS.

Moreover, Apple introduced the malware directed software called OS X EI which takes care of the malware threats in macOS.

In addition to this, you can also delete some files as SIP has already created a backup for them and quite possibly you can see some error messages which will let you know about the macOS failures.

But sometimes you can’t really delete Time machine backup if there’s no issue with the SIP.

This happens only when there are various files to backup. In case you have empty the trash, then macOS will take a long time to process each file.

How to Remove?

Although the removal of the trash depends upon the SIP but still the best method to remove time machine backup is to check the efficiency of the SIP first, for instance, if you are getting error messages such as ( the trash can not be discharged from the Mac trash because the system integrity protection does not allow certain items in the trash to be deleted)

then it’s better that you disable SIP but for a temporary period or else remove anything in trash using TERMINAL

There are many solutions to remove or delete time machine backups but we make sure that

we bring the best and easy options for you.

Steps to remove:

  • Reboot your Mac in recovery mode and once you hear the sound welcome screen make sure that you hold the following command CMD+R on the keyboard so that you activate the recovery mode.
  • Once your Mac is in recovery mode go to the menu and select utilities at the top of the screen, select terminal and open it.
  • Next, you need to type the following key: csrutil disable; reboot
  • Once you hit the key your Mac will instantly reboot. Follow other guidelines over there and make sure that there is no error message. If that is so, that means you have not rebooted your Mac correctly.
  • Once it is booted correctly, the SIP will be turned off. That means you have access to your old time backups and simply move them to trash and hit the empty button! This process might take some time but this is to make sure that there is no problem. But in case of any problem hit the Put back command for the files in the trash by right-clicking on them, then move the Backup. backupdb folder to the new drive. Then open the Time Machine and set your new drive for the destination. 
  • Once you’re done with the following process, reboot your Mac again in recovery mode by the same command CMD+R and repeat the same process with a slight change of keys! This time you will type: csrutil enable; reboot and you’re good to go.
  • This process will help you to prevent the above-mentioned SIP warning: the trash can not be discharged from the Mac trash because the system integrity protection does not allow certain items in the trash to be deleted, instead of when you try to delete time machine backup it will simply empty the trash.
  • Moreover, it is very important to enable SIP System Integrity Protection if you want to run your mac smoothly and keep the malware threats away from it.
  • Here’s another effective solution to remove time machine backup using tmutil
  • tmutil command is a very easy and effective command that will help you remove the time machine backup completely. But before starting this process make sure that you have the exact location of that particular file of time machine backup on the backup drive! Go to the trash and by right-clicking on the stuck backup hit the Put back command and then begin the process mentioned below;
  • Open the terminal and run the application found in /Application/Utilities
  • Then type the following command by replacing the drive name with the time machine backup volume and the specific backup name with the specific backup folder you’re willing to delete,
  • Sudo tmutil delete
  • /Volumes/DRIVE NAME/Backups.backupdb/SPECIFICBACKUPNAME
  • Lastly, press return and enter the admin’s password as asked by Sudo and this will immediately delete the time machine backup. Simple isn’t it!
  • As a matter of fact, a time machine is a very useful feature for any Mac user and they should keep it up to date to avoid any uncertain situation and to run their Mac smoothly. They should back up their entire Mac and personal data so that they don’t face any issue in future as in case anything goes wrong they have the backup to restore it.

Another distinctive quality by Apple’s time machine is that it removes the old backups automatically with the period of time so that you don’t face any storage issue and have the sufficient space for the new backups!

📚 Conclusion!

Having said that, the guide for the time machine backup came to an end.

We hope that the alternatives we have discussed are beneficial for you to handle such situations with your Mac. in case of any query do contact us as we truly value your feedback!

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