APFS Snapshots and Large Files

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APFS Snapshots and Large Files

Howard Oakley:

Snapshots are more efficient than regular backups. If a single byte changes in a file, the whole of that file has to be copied in the next backup. Snapshots keep only the parts of the file that change, so that the original can be reconstructed. But over time and use of that file, the amount of it which has to be retained to restore its original state inevitably rises up to the limit of the whole file size.


If you have sufficient free disk space to include VM and other large files in backups and snapshots, then you don’t need to change their location or policies.

To maintain better control of backup storage, you should move VMs and other large files to a separate volume, and add the whole volume to the Time Machine exclude list, or disable snapshots on that volume in Carbon Copy Cloner.

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