In OS X Lion, there is a new feature which provides auto-saving and versioning functionality. I would like to disable this functionality - I just don't want it.

I have a workflow that involves my trigger finger on cmd-S, I use my own VCS when necessary, I save as compulsively and I open applications like TextEdit and Preview as temporary notepads without wanting any changes saved automatically and without a stupid unlock dialog that then records my changes when I only want to see the changes and not record them.

So, is it possible to turn off Versions without rolling back to 10.6?

PS: Just asking how to disable, not for a discussion of the pros and cons of the features.


It can be done by running the following Terminal command (for Preview in this example):

defaults write $(osascript -e 'id of application "Preview"') ApplePersistence -bool no

Replace Preview in the above command with the name of whatever app you want to perform this on.

For TextEdit you must additionally run the following command, in order to avoid sandbox errors:

defaults write com.apple.TextEdit AutosavingDelay -int 0

Also see this answer on Ask Different.

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  • +1 for actually SHOWING an answer instead of just lamely linking without even a cliff-notes blurb. And I HATE 'watch this video' answers... – lornix Jun 24 '12 at 8:17
  • @user142040 If I remember to try this when I have a working machine (hopefully soon), I will and will report back. I like this idea. I hope it doesn't break the machine.... (consequently any reports from those who have tried it and encountered problems would be appreciated). – Philip Jul 15 '12 at 2:22
  • You and @user23369 are my new personal heroes. – Philip Jul 23 '12 at 0:50

Go to system preferences, general tab, and check the box that says; ask to keep changes when closing documents. When you get out of that document a window appears that will ask you to revert changes. That is the option you need to click.

This will close out the window without saving any changes.

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  • This must be new in Mountain Lion, yes? I'll give it a shot. Any idea how this will interact if I've already done the terminal commands in the accepted answer? – Philip Nov 17 '12 at 8:56

As of 10.8.4 "autosave" is applied to all applications including Xcode. This is especially problematic for webapp scripters who may find their unexpectedly autosaved Python scripts crashing Apache without their permission. the above given terminal command works to stop Xcode's autosave:

defaults write $(osascript -e 'id of application "Xcode"') ApplePersistence -bool False

As of this writing, "Ask to keep changes when closing documents" is broken with Xcode, so clicking the red button will save a script without asking. So if your cat walked on the keyboard and you closed the window, Apache may crash from the cat's scripting.

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You have to turn of versions (or whatever it's called) in Time Machine dialog (Lock documents X days after last use) - video here.

If you want you can remove the option to reopen files in the System Preferences screen under general. (Restore windows when quitting an reopening) Video on that here.

Please add a personalized "Personal Hero" message to the social media site of your choice and link here.

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    This setting does not disable versions. It just adds a warning message when you try to edit a document after e.g. 1 day (minimum time period). It will still be saved every few minutes while editing. – Daniel Beck Jan 24 '12 at 20:11
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    Autosaving is application specific an handled independently within each application. Versions is a function of the Time Machine and is handled within that. – skub Jan 24 '12 at 21:53
  • @skub +1 for letting me disable locking...is there a quick way to disable autosave application by application? – Philip Jan 26 '12 at 2:04

Yes, you can disable Versions globally, I described it here:

How to disable Versions in OS X Lion

I found no way to disable autosave.

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The problem is complicated if you use hardware or software RAID, since Mountain Lion cannot create a recovery partition on a RAID volume (where RAID volume = any physical drive with at least one RAID-enabled partition).

Users running a Server version of the OS will typically come up against this limitation but it can affect anyone with a desktop and a RAID card.

Without a recovery partition, Time Machine Control Panel in System Preferences is disabled (greyed out).

I am still working out whether creating a Time Machine backup on another drive will allow the behaviour we're seeking.

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    Are there any references for this information. Seems like there might be some potential resources that expand upon this issue, if so please add them to this answer. – slm Feb 2 '13 at 18:45

You cannot disable Autosave.

The only thing you can do is to go back to Snow Leopard (as I did).

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