Protect and restore your important work
Mac software Autosaving and backups make it less likely you’ll lose your work
File versioning is a feature of macOS that enables apps to save a history of changes to a document without cluttering your storage with multiple copies of files.
Apple calls this Versions. The feature has a counterpart called Auto Save, which acts as an additional safety net. Together, these features make it less likely that you’ll lose work by saving over it or because an app crashes.
Support for Versions and Auto Save is far from universal, though. Apple’s document creation apps – Pages, Numbers and Keynote – support it, while Microsoft apps have their own implementation of it. Check whether an app has a Revert To submenu in the File menu.
When you choose File > Save, your app saves the changes you’ve made since the last version was created – automatically or manually – as part of a much longer history.
Compatible apps automatically save new versions to a document’s history as you work. This happens at least once every hour, and when you open, duplicate, lock, rename or revert a file to an earlier version. A version is also created when you save manually – do that when you reach a milestone in your work.
Versions are saved as part of your file, so even if you quit the app, you’ll still be able to access them when you reopen it. Note, though, that if you move files between your Mac and another operating system, such as Windows or Linux, you won’t be able to access the versions there – it’s a macOS-only thing.