Did You Know Most Mac Apps Keep Versions of Your Documents as You Work? | Computer Hardware

Did You Know Most Mac Apps Keep Versions of Your Documents as You Work? | Computer Hardware

We all make mistakes, which is why Undo exists. Immediately choose Edit > Undo or press Command-Z to undo your last change. Most Mac apps support multiple levels of Undo, so you can keep pressing Command-Z to undo change after change. However, suppose you delete a table in your Pages document, but 30 minutes and many changes later, you decide you want it back. Undoing won't help because you want to keep all other interim changes, and a Time Machine backup might not help because the backup might not have happened at the right time.

Since OS X 10.7 Lion, Mac apps have been able to take advantage of a built-in Apple technology called versioning to protect users from such situations. Apps that support versioning create a separate version of each document every time you manually save or the app automatically saves, at least once an hour. You can browse through all these versions in a Time Machine-like interface and copy data from a previous version or revert an existing document to a previous state.

Some cross-platform apps, and those with a long history and legacy architecture, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, do not support versioning, but most modern document-based apps do. You can identify versionable apps by the presence of the Revert To command in the File menu.

How Versioning Works

Every time you work, every time a document is saved, either automatically by its app or because you hit File > Save or reflexively Command-S, the previous version is saved on the same volume as a hidden one. The versions saved in the folder are added to the database. When a file is deleted, all versions of it are also removed, so there's no need to worry about wasting storage space on long-deleted files.

When you find that you need to recover some data from an older version of a file, you choose File > Revert To > Browse All Versions, which takes time to find all previous versions. Opens a machine-like browser. On the right, you can scroll through previous versions by clicking the arrows, visually comparing them to the current version on the left. Some apps provide additional ways to compare versions.

Once you've found the version you want, you can try copying the content you want and pasting it into the current version of your document on the left — depending on the app and document type, you may have to leave the version browser. Will not have to. .

If copying and pasting doesn't work, you can click Restore to return the document to its previous version instead. Unlike Time Machine, Version Browser doesn't ask if you want to overwrite the current version, so if you're not sure you want a wholesale reversion, use the Change button to restore the copy. Press the option to This opens a separate copy of the document in the app so you can pick and choose the one you want to revert from the old version to the current version.

More version details

Although the version is easy to use, there is a lot going on behind the scenes, which may raise some questions:

  • What about document copies? Copies of a document, such as you would make using File > Duplicate, File > Save, or in the Finder, are different files from a versioning perspective and lose access to versions of the original file.
  • Is iCloud Drive supported? iCloud Drive maintains its own version database, so although you may have to click the Load Versions link to see a particular version when browsing previous versions, they should all be accessible.
  • Are files shared between my Macs? Versions are stored at the top of the document volume, so when it works with files stored on an external drive that are transferred between Macs, over a network between Macs or on a file sharing service like Dropbox The files used will each have different versions. Mac, based on where the file was open when it was saved.
  • Are there any privacy or security risks in versioning? The version database is completely closed and better protected than regular documents on your Mac. Also, if you open a secret file but close it without making any changes or saving, it will not be added to the version database.

No one expects to make a mistake, but if you do, versioning macOS can save you from redoing it. Look for this file in your favorite apps > Revert to menu to see if they support versioning, and if they do, try it out so you know if you ever need it. How to use

(Featured photo by Adam Angst)

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