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Versions and Time Machine seem to me to offer duplicated features: both do hourly backups, and their interfaces for browsing previous versions of files are very similar. The only difference I can see is that Time Machine backs up all files regardless of whether their associated applications support the TM interface, so even if the app I use to view the file doesn't work in TM, I still have backups of my files - whereas Versions has to be supported directly by each application.

I can understand having Versions' file and document versioning support there under the hood in order to enable multiple applications to open a single file without causing corruption - but why present this versioning system to the user when we already have Time Machine with the same features and a near-identical user interface? Why use more disk space to provide the same feature twice?

Is there a crucial feature or use case for either Versions or Time Machine which means it makes sense to have both?

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Good question. I like to think of Versions as a more granular storage then Time Machine, although that is not quite correct. John Siracusa gives a nice introduction. –  Percival Ulysses Mar 18 '13 at 16:12

2 Answers 2

No it is not the same:

Versions: It is for different versions of your documents. You change something in your document and you can revert to an earlier version. This is not possible with Time Machine in this granularity.

Time Machine: It is for backup. It handle the case that you need to recover from a hard disk crash in your mac. You can't do that with versions since versions saves your changes on the then defect hard disk.

So they have their purpose since they „solve“ different problems.

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Certainly not. Consider what you need Versions/Time Machine for, before deciding which is redundant.

If you're constantly deleting files and needing them later, or if you like that sense of security in the back of your head, then no, Time Machine isn't redundant.
But if you don't feel that way, and you don't really delete files that often, then it may be redundant.

Also consider: if your computer were to break down someday, would you need a backup?

Versions saves versions of files as soon as you save them. That way, if you need to revert to a certain point in time of a file, then you can do that.
Time Machine also provides this functionality, however not as flexibly. Time Machine saves backups on regular intervals, not as soon as you save files. However Time Machine can restore deleted files, as well as bring back your OS when it dies. In other words, Versions is a document reverting system whereas Time Machine is a backup solution.

I actively use both systems, so no, it's not redundant to have Versions and Time Machine.

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