time machine changes

Time Machine changes in Mavericks

Following on from my previous post on cheeky changes to OS X Mavericks, (Or 10.9), today I wanted to point out some subtle changes to the way Time Machine backs up.

First of all, the Time Machine menu bar icon no longer rotates whilst performing a back up. This was handy as a visual way of knowing that Time Machine was in the process of backing you up, but in Mavericks, Apple want to hide things even more from the Graphical Interface so users don’t have too many distractions.

If you need to know that a backup is being performed, the menu bar icon does very subtly change to have an extra Arrow in the clock face. The first image below is when NO backup is in progress. The second image is during a backup, can you see the slight icon change?!

time machine changes mavericks

time machine mavericks osx

As you can see, by clicking on the Time Machine menu bar icon it will inform you of the current state of any backups.

You can always at any time open Time Machine preferences and stare at your backup progress should you wish!

osx mavericks time machine preferences

If you back up to a locally mounted drive, the Finder Sidebar icon for your connected drive will still animate rotating the Time Machine clock face.

So, not too much of a hardship to lose the rotating icon, as long as it’s backing me up then I’m happy!

The second thing I have noticed that has changed since upgrading to Mavericks is that as I backup to a Time Capsule drive over the network, the Time Capsule Drive does not ‘Mount’ on the Desktop nor show up in the Finder Sidebar as before during a backup.

So I literally have to rely on the very discrete extra Arrow in the Time Machine menu bar icon or open Time Machine Preferences.

Yes, I have checked that my Finder Preferences has the check-boxes checked as shown below, it seems this is yet another cheeky change in Mavericks to hide things from us!

time machine finder preferences

For you techies out there that are as curious as me!

If you select ‘Go’ in the Finder’s menu bar and select ‘Go to Folder…’, then enter ‘/Volumes/’ in the pop up window that appears, this should display graphically all mounted volumes including your Time Machine backup drive:

time machine mavericks volumes

As you can see, the ‘Data’ volume displayed is my Time Capsule network drive and the ‘Time Machine Backups’ volume displayed contains my backups.

I can navigate into this to see my backups.

As my Mac is an Apple portable, (for me a MacBook Pro), I also have the ‘MobileBackups’ volume which is the special location that Time Machine creates your ‘Local Snapshots’.
(You can obviously use the Terminal instead of the ‘Go to Folder…’ Finder option and navigate your file system if you are more of a command line guy!)

For more information on Time Machine you can read all our Time Machine blogs here or listen to our Time Machine Podcast series online here.


While the author has taken care to provide our readers with accurate information, please use your discretion before acting upon information based on the blog post. Amsys will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this blog.

This feature has been tested using OS X v10.9.1, which was the latest Mac OS release at the time of writing.

10 Replies to "Time Machine changes in Mavericks"

  • Bernd

    Hello – I don’t know if this is a Mavericks issue, or just a problem with my MBP late 2012, but when I try to restore a programme in the applications folder, all the earlier windows are black with no content. So I cannot restore an application.
    I have checked the exclusions and the application folder is not listed there, only the downloads folder (which I want to be there) and the parallels folder.

    Does anybody encounter the same issue?
    best wishes

  • Hi Bernd. I have also seen ‘Blacked out’ previous back outs. This is designed to show you any backups of your machine which are currently unavailable to you to restore from. For example a previous backup drive that you’ve replaced or you have multiple backup drives and this particular backup is on the hard drive that is not currently backed up. Could also be that those backups have now been deleted to make room for new backups.

    To give you an example. I have two backup drives. One at work and one at home. When I’m at home, i have blacked out backups of the backups performed at work as my computer is informing me that i have additional backups available but not on the backup drive that I’m currently browsing.

    If this is not the case, then there is something wrong with how your Operating System is handling backups and you should go to an Apple Store or contact Apple support.

    What i would try though is just re-selecting your backup drive in Time Machine preferences by opening the preference pane, select ‘Add or Remove Backup Disk’ and re-selecting the same drive. This should re-associate your backup drive with Time Machine.

    Hope this makes sense? Good luck!


  • I thought Time Machine was not working properly. What a silly change, to stop the clock. Now I have to open System Preferences to know if it is backing up or not, waste of time and screen space. No one I knew, knew this was for real. I am dismayed.

  • Peter Tucker

    Well I have the same [or broadly similar] issue …

    I have a 4TB external USB drive which is my EyeTV archive is daily written to, this drive is also used for my TimeMachine backups. This has been the case for about a year.

    The drive as you mention is invisible in Finder and nothing I can do will reveal it. It does show-up in DiskUtility though. Obviously EyeTV can still see and daily write to the drive as can TimeMachine on it’s normal schedule.

    From another Mac [connected to the TV], this Mac mounts the first Mac across the network and the 4TB drive and is visible as a normal drive on the first Mac.

    I must admit I’d not noticed this strangeness, until today, then I searched and found your thread.

    Very strange! Peter

  • Thank you so much for these instructions! You are the *first and only* person to actually put up a screen capture of the Time Machine menu. I am recently back on a Mac after 20 years on a PC. All the instructions said to go to the “Time Machine menu” — but I couldn’t find it. I was looking at the left of the screen, where the menu does show “Time Machine” but it did nothing.

    You cleared things up for me. I didn’t think to look on the right of the menu bar for that tiny-clock-with-an-arrow icon. Even Apple didn’t include the screenshot.

    Thank you!

  • My MBP ’12 also has an odd habit of mounting the time machine drive on the desktop, but not in the finder window sidebar. Though other hard drives do mount there. What the? Everything works as normal. I just can’t see the drive in the finder window.

  • Hi Scott. Just double check your Finder Preferences as shown above to make sure all mounted drives appear in the sidebar. You could also try dragging the time machine mounted icon from the desktop to the sidebar to add it to the sidebar manually.

    However this does seems to be the case now as I have the same. You shouldn’t need to see this Time Machine drive during backups as Time Machine is designed to be a background process not to interfere with the user. It auto mounts and auto dismounts when needed.


  • Thank you so much for solving the mystery about the Time Machine icon!! I was very puzzled why I did not get my rotating status icon and I want it back!!!
    The other problem I think exists now is when you open the Time Machine preferences to review the status, you can no longer see it counting files…..instead it appears to be hung up on “preparing to back up”.
    As always, removing features and hiding things is not the kind of “Think Different” that has me thinking favorably of Apple.

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