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I have just purchased a 1TB external hard drive to use as my Time Machine capsule.

I will not have it connected all of the time, I will probably only connect it every month or so.

Is there any way the Time Machine can 'buffer' it's hourly / weekly backups etc on the Mac itself and then write these to the external drive when connected?

I may need to make use of the hourly backups for example (where I delete/modify a file in error) - but use the external drive as my 'disaster recovery' drive, if the Mac is stolen/burns in a fire.

Hopefully this makes sense. Any help much appreciated!

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Time Machine will simply back up all changes since the last backup, each & every time it can see the drive.

It runs in permanent incremental mode, with auto-clean-up of oldest data when the drive gets full.

It will not save hourly versions of documents, if it doesn't see them every hour.

An alternative method might be to use an internal drive/partition as a 'quick recovery' Time Machine & clone that to your external once a month. Time Machine drives can be simply file-copied.

Or... 3rd option, use a small internal Time Machine [I'm presuming you are using the external for space saving reasons] which will not be able to keep data for long, then once a month, set the external to be the new Time Machine, reverting to the internal once the external is finished backing up & unplugged.

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I've since discovered that Macbooks already come with this feature...!

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204015

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