How to Delete an Autosave File Version on macOS

Delete Previous Versions Cover

A benefit of using a Mac for your daily work is that if you use Apple’s variety of applications such as Pages, Keynote, Preview, etc., macOS will automatically save the file, relieving you of the tension of saving your work every few minutes. While many count this as a blessing, these older versions of the document/file may cause confusion later on.

This versioning feature doesn’t need to be specifically enabled – it’s present and enabled in supported apps by default. The file versions don’t take up that much space, either, as Apple only stores the differences between the two files rather than the complete versions.

The apps store a version every hour you work (more frequently if you keep making major changes) on a file and don’t really have a limit on how many backup versions are stored. However, if you’re concerned about space on your Mac and don’t want to get mixed up between different versions of the same file, you may want to get rid of the previous versions of these files.

The files aren’t obvious in Finder, so you’ll have to locate them from the app settings and delete the previous versions from there. Today’s guide covers exactly that, so follow the steps below to delete the previous versions of any desired document/file:

1. Open the document. Make sure it’s open in an app that supports macOS saving of previous versions of the file (mostly apps developed by Apple itself).

2. From the top menu, select “File -> Revert to -> Browse All Versions.”

Delete Previous Versions Browse File

3. A window will open to show you all previous versions of the file you’re accessing. You can navigate these by clicking on the arrows on the right side of the screen. A timeline will show up that will allow you to easily scroll through file versions according to the date they were modified.

Delete Previous Versions Browse Previous Versions

4. Navigate through time to the first version you want to delete by selecting it on the right side of the view. Once selected, move your cursor to the top of the screen for a moment; the menus should reveal themselves.

5. Choose “File -> Revert To -> Delete this Version” and confirm the deletion.

Delete Previous Versions Delete File

That’s it. Unfortunately. you’ll have to delete each version individually, as there’s no method to delete all desired versions of a file at once. You can repeat the steps listed above on any document that includes previous versions, which may also free up some space on your system (although not much.)

Did you find this guide useful? Have any questions or comments? Let us know in the comments section below.

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