Make a local snapshot using MobileBackups on Mac OS X Lion

Mac OS X Lion introduced MobileBackups, a new TimeMachine feature that stores local backups of your files while you are away from your main TimeMachine backup disk. This feature stores filesystem snapshots inside a virtual drive on your local disk, so should not be considered as a main backup strategy. The system automatically does periodic snapshots, but you can also manually initiate the process.

To make a local snapshot of the current state of your files, enter this command in your Terminal window:

sudo tmutil snapshot

It should complete almost instantaneously, giving you a tick in the TimeMachine backups timeline.


Disable TimeMachine local backups on Mac OS X Lion

Mac OS X Lion introduces a new TimeMachine backup feature for the MacBook Air and Pro notebooks, called MobileBackups. It is a local version of TimeMachine backups that enables local snapshots of your data while you’re mobile and away from your main TimeMachine backups. On the TimeMachine timeline screen, local backups are shown as white ticks, while main backups are purple.

This is a neat feature, however it eats up your hard disk space and can grow to tens of gigabytes very fast. Thankfully, you can disable it permanently or temporarily by using the tmutil program.

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