Starting with OS X 10.7, Apple caused your Mac to start making “Mobile Backups” of “Local Snapshots” to the MobileBackups directory (technically .MobileBackups) on your hard drive. It does this whenever your Mac is away from your Time Machine backup drive, such as your Time Capsule.
The thinking is, of course, that while you work on your laptop at the coffee shop, whatever you are creating should be backed up.
Explains Apple, “Local snapshots complement regular Time Machine backups that are stored on your external disk or Time Capsule by creating a local backup on your startup disk when your normal backup drive is not available. This provides you with a “safety net” for times when you might be away from your external backup disk or Time Capsule but accidentally delete a file. When your normal backup is available again, Time Machine copies the local snapshot contents from your startup disk to your normal backup drive.”
But you may not want your Mac to do that, especially as it consumes valuable hard drive space.
Unfortunately, no matter where you look in your Settings – Time Machine or otherwise – there is no preference setting to turn this off. Nor did Apple bother to, you know, document this, other than the information above about why they foisted this upon you, which you can also read on the Apple site.
So, here is how to turn off (disable) the automatic MobileBackups.
You will need to use the Terminal utility for this. If you have never used Terminal before, then you should stop reading now – as this isn’t the time to learn about executing commands at the command line level (it’s basically analogous to working under the hood of your car). But if you’re already comfortable with working on the command line, read on.
At your shell prompt type:
sudo tmutil disablelocal (return)
You will be prompted for your system password. Enter it and hit return, and you’re done!
No more pesky Local Snapshots or MobileBackups!
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