Delete a folder from all time machine backups (APFS and network)

I have a huge folder which has changed regularly over the last week and filled up my time machine backup drives (one externas ssd, APFS, and one network).
Now I would like to delete the folder from all my time machine backups. I read that this was easily possible with the older fs. But how can I do it with APFS time machine and a network time machine?


The only option I am aware of is to exclude files or folders from Time Machine (APFS) before the backup has been made.

This only has an effect on future Time Machine backups. It has no effect on backups already made.

Small caveat (even if a file or folder is excluded):

Excluded items still appear in Time Machine local snapshots.

With APFS it is no longer possible to delete items within a backup. If you want to prevent something becoming part of a Time Machine backup, you do have to exclude the file or folder before the backup is being made. What you can do is to delete “a whole backup” (snapshots) of a particular timestamp.

More on that:

Can you clear space by deleting old backups? I can’t believe that a backup older than 6 months is worth saving. Then make the adjustment based on the above suggestion for backups going forward. Just a thought.

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Right - That is what I thought abut just now - and I now have now 1.5TB more space on my sdd. But how can I do this on the network backup? I tried to mount the image from my mac, and it tells me resource temporarily unavailable? Hoiw can I do that in a network TM backup?

Recommended alternatives for the future:

  1. Put your current Time Machine disk drive “on the shelf” and keep it for some period of time as a still-useful backup. Start Time Machine on a new disk drive.
  2. Switch to an app like Carbon Copy Cloner which makes a copy of your file structure and would let you navigate into a backup drive and delete un-wanted folders.

@Rkrug – I hope Time Machine is not your only backup strategy. I use it but only as a first level of backup as I consider it to be somewhat unreliable.

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Actually, only the two time machines, as I moved the back blaze license to a macmioni server. But CC is a good idea - I used it in the past, and will use it again to copy of the documents folder to the Mac mini, which is then backed up to.
OK - I am also using iCloud for document sharing, but this is not a backup.

You used to be able to do this through the interface, but they removed the capability (I think because it was buggy)