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I noticed that every time TimeMachine runs, my mac becomes less responsive. Is it possible to run the time machine process on a lower priority?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You could try navigating to

System -> Library -> LaunchDaemons 

and edit the file below

It would appear from this Apple man page referencing launchd that you could add a key for

LowPriority I/O that may achieve this.

In this same .plist you could also alter the frequency of the backups by changing the value of the Start Interval key :


The 3600 represents seconds, so increasing this will delay the time between backups.

Having said all that, it's really probably best not too alter the default behavior of Time Machine by editing .plists. It may be best just to turn Time Machine off from its preference panel manually if you think it is going to bog you down. ( And of course remembering to turn it back on when your will leave the machine unattended afterwards. )

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You could also add a Nice key to the .plist file (e.g. <key>Nice</key><integer>10</integer>) to lower the CPU scheduling priority of the backup job. (Also, I'll second CaseyIT's warning about messing with these .plists -- you can do cool things this way, but you can also shoot yourself in the foot pretty easily.) – Gordon Davisson Nov 11 '10 at 6:55

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