How OS X Lion helps keep your files safe: Why Lion’s Autosave and Versions features are a real boon

“Thanks to Lion, lost work could become a thing of the past,” Laurence Cable reports for TechRadar UK. “Barring the failure of your Mac’s hard drive, you need no longer worry about losing work if the app in question crashes.”

“This is because OS X Lion has two clever systems built into it: Auto Save and Versions,” Cable reports. “Provided you’re using an app that has support for these two features built in, your Mac automatically saves what you do as you go along.”

Cable reports, “And if youlater decide you want to jump back to an older version of the file, Versions enables you to do just that. We’re going to take a look at how these two systems work so that you can make the most of them.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Me too. It has its uses. Now, when updating my CV I have to create a duplicate version before I edit it. I save them based upon the date – for example – “CV_2011-11-20”.

      1. I’m not sure why you say you ‘have’ to create a duplicate version. you can just unlock the version you have, make changes.
        if you want multiple versions based on date, then it makes sense to make duplicates every time you make a change (you think is important).
        I keep multiple versions of screenplays I am working on but for other docs, I just unlock, add changes and I’m done.

        1. Because a different organization requires a different type of CV (ex. hospital vs. insurance company), I do have to create different versions. Frequently, I need to go back to a certain version and change things so I can resubmit it. I actually simplified things a bit. My files actually are usually titled, “CV(long)_2011-11-20” or “CV(hospital)_2011-11-20” for example.

      2. You don’t have to create a duplicate before you edit. Like always, you can start editing and then decide whether to save the changes or not. It works like this…edit, then choose Duplicate. While the duplicate will always include your edits, the OS asks what you want to do with the original–include the edits or not.

  1. Sorry…but I’m willing to take the risk of lost files if I could get Save As back.

    Some people who work with hundreds of thousands of files back up all the time and constantly save. I’m one of those people. I can’t remember when I’ve “lost” work or lost files.

    On the other hand, I’m still fighting mad about what Apple has done regarding versions and autosave. There is ZERO REASON why those can’t be preferences that someone CHOOSES to use or not. I can’t tell you how many times in the past few months I’ve opened an old file, started to work on it by changing things only to realize that I’m messed up because I’ve changed an old file and stupid Lion has saved the results to the SAME FILE rather than let me decide when to save and how to save by using Save As.

    Yes, I know I can go back and restore the original version, but what a time waster.

    Now, I have to think ahead when I open an old file and usually duplicate it before I even open it. That’s ridiculous.

    I’m sorry, but this “feature” in Lion is simply another thing that had dumbed down the Mac OS so that all the idiots in the world can buy a Mac and do things without screwing up their files. I don’t need that kind of hand holding. I HATE IT!!!

    1. “I can’t tell you how many times in the past few months I’ve opened an old file, started to work on it by changing things only to realize that I’m messed up because I’ve changed an old file and stupid Lion has saved the results to the SAME FILE rather than let me decide when to save and how to save by using Save As.”

      Nothing is messed up. In this situation, choosing Duplicate is exactly the same thing as Save As. Both let you save the edited document with a new name in a new location, and while Save As always leaves the original intact, Duplicate asks if you want to do so.

      1. The problem with the new “Duplicate” is that it confusingly serves several 2 (“DUAL”) functions. Save As… Move… (old)Duplicate, some of those being used in the Finder, others accessible through app menus.

  2. Not up on Lion yet, but went by the Apple Store and tried the save issues.

    I hope Apple changes options or preferences but in the mean time.

    Every time I open an old file I figure I need to dupe & change the suffix (whether letter or date) so I don’t get myself confused.

    I want my own control over this an see the need for a Finder or System Preference.

    It can NOT be that hard to offer to customers. Only the die hards w/10s of thousands of files might use it, but there are lots of us.

  3. I think all this to-do over autosave, natural scrolling, and the Duplicate command would go away if the Mac technophobes got over themselves, learned them and got used to them. Unfortunately, they are all vandalizing Lion to regress it to Snow Leopard, they aren’t giving Lion a chance, so we will hear this belly-aching over nothing for a long time to come.

    Mac users resistant to change, new ideas, and new technology: whodathunkit.

      1. Sorry dude, but he has a point here. The history of Apple is a history of people whining when Apple makes them do things in a different way, only to accept it later when hindsight reveals it to have been obviously the right choice. “Waah, I want my floppy drive back”, “Waah, my new iPod doesn’t work with Firewire”, etc.

        You watch: In 3-5 years, all Mac and Windows apps will be implementing “save” in this fashion, and we’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.

        (As for “natural scrolling”… Yeah, I turned it off, but only because I have to use a Windows PC at work. I don’t feel like dealing with scrolling one way on my work machine and another way at home.)


        1. Any OS worth a d**n already has this implemented at the filesystem level. No messing around with application support or changed dialogues. It’s just plain done behind the scenes in a transparent way with a convenient way to access previous versions using the filesystem interface. Write your applications to autosave and don’t normally even worry because it’s rarely needed and easy to get your old version back if you do. The interface stays the same until you need to restore. Some implementations even archive old versions to a backup or allow you to create ‘delta’ patches. Sadly, even years after it became common on servers, it’s unheard of on consumer machines to have version control tools out of the box. Not everyone is a programmer so the manufacturers just assume it’s not needed. The same reasoning is why backup tools aren’t used by most people… They’re not automatic or convenient enough to setup and they don’t advertise the feature too well when it exists. Thank you Apple for finally doing something that makes sense. Almost no one else does this!

          I’m curious enough to want to see how well it works in the Apple implementation. More application support and a good implementation at the OS level could make it simpler to get your old versions and save as a different name.

  4. Some may think that Lion is near perfect and users should not complain, however, from where I stand Apple has made a big mistake with Lion.

    Everyone of my Mac clients who purchased Lion has reverted back to Snow Leopard after testing Lion. I don’t have a single Mac client who likes it! In fact, I know several people who have switched to Windows 7 as their default environment after testing Lion. Which is a shame because Lion has some nice features. However, the inability to change certain settings really has impacted my clients.

    1. “In fact, I know several people who have switched to Windows 7 as their default environment after testing Lion.”

      Now that is a bit extreme…are you sure that Lion was the root cause? Or were these people just aching to get cosy with MS again? Any excuse will do in a pinch.

      1. Lion was definitely the cause. Before Lion the clients were quite happy with the Mac. I also have several clients who have postponed new Mac purchases while they are waiting to see if Apple will address the issues with Lion. This is unusual because I can always count on my Mac clients to have enthusiasm for all things Apple. With Lion that is not the case.

        Here are the top issues my clients have mentioned:

        Autosave slows down computer when using large files.

        Versions takes a lot of hard drive space when working with large images.

        Loss of Save As

        Automatic Termination of Applications – Clients frequently open up programs such as grab and preview and switch to them as necessary via the dock or command tab. These programs frequently don’t have an open window, however, they are used for a minute or two several times an hour. Beginners are really confused when their program just disappears, power users are irritated.

        Lion won’t let users trash documents – see the following link:

        Security issues with versions. – Clients do not like the idea that previous drafts are accessible from inside the document by anyone who might access to machine.

        Resume – clients don’t want all the same apps open every time they log in. If Auto Resume is turned off, the user should not have to uncheck the box asking “Reopen windows when logging back in”. Unselecting this feature each time is a pain. More serious is the bug that under certain circumstances, e.g. an installer forces the restart, you don’t get that dialog and so you get no choice. And the result is that Installer app opens again after the relaunch, totally inappropriately!”

        Loss of Colored Icons in Finder – I have been helping clients and students now for over 15 years with computers. If there is anything that I have learned over this time period, it is that color is very important to help users select the right icon. You can describe the icon as much as you like, but the user will frequently select the wrong icon. However, when you say click on the green icon, the communication problem disappears.”

        Loss of scroll arrows – makes small movements in Excel difficult. More importantly it kills the foot mouse software the orchestra uses during practice and concerts. Quick tap on foot mouse to move the music down.

        1. Agreed. Not to mention the thousands of dollars in software upgrades and the total elimination of hundreds of irreplaceable applications caused by the loss of Rosetta. This would be a lot easier to understand if Lion added any features of real value instead of the dumbed down nonsense many are struggling with now. The loss of Save As simply trades off the potential for one kind of mistake, forgetting to save, with another, forgetting to follow the convoluted logic defying Duplicate procedure. The result is a seriously degraded user experience caused by an operating system that appears to be the result of some misguided focus group driven mania to fix something that wasn’t broken.

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