When does Time Machine delete files that you’ve deleted from your Mac?

One of the key reasons to have a continuously running backup, whether to local storage or a cloud-backed provider, is to restore files you accidentally delete. Macworld reader Helena is trying to understand under what circumstances Time Capsule allows recovering a deleted file.

She wonders about a scenario in which with Time Machine active she:

  1. Deletes a number of files from her Mac.
  2. Performs a manual Time Machine backup.
  3. Erases her Mac.
  4. Restores it to another Mac.

Will the files deleted in step 1 be recoverable, Helena asks? Yes, but not as easily as with some hosted and local backup services.

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