Monitor Resources

Time Machine Backup Failed Not Enough Space

Time Machine Backup Failed Not Enough Space

Have you ever had a Time Machine backup fail due to not having enough space? Don’t worry! Here we’ll tell you what you should do When your Time Machine backup is complete. 

When your Mac’s contents increase, you may find that Time Machine cannot complete the backup due to a shortage of space. Time Machine is a terrific method to back up your Mac and a simple way to migrate all of your data and applications to another Mac.

What should you do if your Time Machine backup fails because your hard disc doesn’t have enough space? Learn what to do if your Time Machine backup is complete, including which Time Machine backups you may remove and how to minimize the size of your backup.

Are you facing this error “Time Machine Backup Failed Not Enough Space “? If yes, let’s talk about the solution.

Time Machine Backup Failed Not Enough Space?

When Time Machine tries to back up your Mac, you may receive the following message:

  • The Time Machine backup failed.
  • An excessive amount of data is being backed up.
  • Only Y GB of storage space is available for backup.

However, it is not required to buy a new hard disc for backups if you see this notice. For example, if you don’t need to back up a lot of data, it is easy to erase older backups from your Time Machine backup.

Ensure you haven’t transferred any unnecessary data to the backup disk before you start, especially if it’s a second copy of your photo collection, which is already backed up via Time Machine. There is no need to copy any data from the backup drive already in your Time Machine backup.

You should also verify if the drive is being used as a backup drive by more than one Mac, for example, if your Mac is backing up to a shared network-attached storage disk.

How to delete old Time Machine backups?

If you run out of space and don’t have a new storage device available, the first thing to do is to delete certain things from the backup.

  • Connect your Mac to the hard drive.
  • The drive should appear on your computer’s desktop.
  • In the Finder, click on the drive to see what’s on it.
  • Go to the Backups, then backups folder, and click on it.
  • Use the date order to navigate through the numerous folders that display, oldest first.
  • You can remove one of the oldest folders, as it’s doubtful you’ll ever need to travel back that far in Time Machine.
  • Move it to Trashrash by right-clicking/control-clicking on it.
  • You cannot undo this action as you will be warned. Are you sure you want to put the backup in Trashrash?
  • Proceed by clicking on the Continue button.
  • If asked, type in your password to proceed.
  • Go to Trashrash, right-click, and select Delete Immediately to guarantee it is removed from the hard disc.
  • Confirm your deletion and re-enter your password.
  • You could get a few cautions that something is in use and you can’t delete it. Choose skip and delete as usual.

Helpful advice on how to to keep your backup small 

Here are some suggestions if you’re having problems determining the size of your backup.

  • If you have a vast music collection, join up for iTunes Match instead of backing it up. It will then be backed up on Apple’s iCloud, where you may access it from any account.
  • Joining iCloud Photo Library will allow you to save all of your images on the cloud, ideal if you have an extensive collection. Just make sure you have enough storage space in iCloud, which may need a monthly subscription fee. The pricing of iCloud storage space may be found right here.
  • When using virtualization software like Parallels or VMware, you may have big disc images associated with another operating system on your Mac. Time Machine may back up the entire disc image even if you’ve just changed a few files on the other OS. You may tell Time Machine not to back up those files.

Do you have a lot of emails in your backup? Outlook’s email database, for example, maybe rather huge, and Time Machine may be backing it all up. For example, if you’re synchronizing Gmail, you won’t need a copy of your email here because it’s already on the Internet.


How do I free up space on Apple Time Machine? 

  • Connect your computer to the backup drive.
  • Click Time Machine by selecting the Time Machine symbol from the Menu Bar.
  • If the icon isn’t visible, go to System Preferences > Time Machine and check the Show Time Machine in the Menu Bar box.
  • Select the backup you wish to remove from the list of backups.
  • In the Finder window, select the Gear icon.
  • Select Delete Backup from the menu. Choose Delete all backups of X if you wish to delete all backups of a particular file.
  • Accept the confirmation on the screen.
  • Type your password.

Why does my Mac say there is not enough disk space? 

You probably have temporary files on your Mac’s hard disc that you don’t need. These files frequently use disc space for no apparent reason. There are a lot more temporary files on your system, which you can check by opening Finder, going to Go -> Go to Folder on the menu, and then going to /Library/Caches.

How much space does a Time Machine backup need? 

Time Machine will benefit from having an extra 270GB of backup capacity on your Time Machine disc with a 250GB boot drive with just 230GB utilized (20GB spare) and a 500GB backup drive. According to the ” rule of thumb, ” a 1.5TB Time Machine disc would be excessive, and 750GB would be the optimum option, according to the “rule of thumb.”

What do I do when my backup drive is entire?

To erase incremental backups, you must delete the entire backup on which they were made. If you only need to recover from a recent crash, you can safely erase earlier backups from your system. Older backups might be helpful if you need to restore data from a previous period.

Final words

In this article, we knew the time machine backup failed due to not having enough space. So, when your hard drive gets full, Time Machine should automatically remove the oldest copies. However, if you’re trying to back up a lot of data, you may need to manually.

Even though Time Machine automatically deletes previous backups, your backup drive will ultimately fill up if the number of files on your Mac continues to increase. If you run out of space and don’t have a new storage device available, the first thing to do is to delete certain things from the backup.

This Article is Updated.

Related Articles


Robert Smith
Latest posts by Robert Smith (see all)

Content Details

About the author

Robert Smith

Robert Smith is a technology lover and loves to write about laptops, monitors, printers, tablets, Apple products and anything that's related to computers and games. He is passionate enough that he maintains this blog regarding tech updates on a daily basis.