Make Time Machine Forget a File – Mac Kung Fu, 2nd Edition

Tip 307Make Time Machine Forget a File

Time Machine periodically backs up every single file on your computer, including personal data. That might include data you want to permanently eradicate from your computer so it simply no longer exists—not as a file and not within a backup. You can eradicate a file using Tip 6, Get Rid of Files​—​Securely, but how do you remove it from all the Time Machine backups that occurred since the file was created or copied to your computer?


Figure 47. Making Time Machine delete a file from its backup

This is surprisingly easy to do. Start by browsing in Finder to the former location of the file you want to eradicate from backups. Then click the Time Machine icon at the top right of the screen, and if a backup is currently taking place, click Stop Backing Up. Then click Enter Time Machine. Step back to the most recent Time Machine backup in the timeline list on the right of screen, locate the file you want to eradicate, and right-click. Select Delete All Backups Of from the menu. You’ll be warned this is a drastic action and asked to enter your login password. See Figure 47, Making Time Machine delete a file from its backup.

Click Cancel at the bottom left of the Time Machine window when you’ve finished.