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Most Apple applications in newer OS X versions, like OS X 10.9, automatically save all changes to all files and documents without your approval, and file versions and revisions are automatically available from within a submenu within the File menu.

Where are such revisions saved, filesystem-wise?

If one is to exchange such files, how would one ensure that none of the history gets exchanged, too?

What if one did want to exchange the history, is there a way to accomplish that as well?

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The different versions of the file are stored in a hidden folder named .DocumentRevisions-V100 in the root of the volume. On recent macOS versions, such as Big Sur and Monterey, you'll find it in the root of the Data volume:

/System/Volumes/Data/.DocumentRevisions-V100

When you exchange files by copying them, sending them as attachments through email, AirDropping them, uploading them to a web site, copying to a cloud drive or similar - it is only the actual file itself that is exchanged. That is, it is the most recent version that you're exchanging. So there's really nothing to worry about there - it happens automatically.

If you actually want to exchange the history with the file, I'm afraid that's not immediately possible - there's no user interface for copying the files with past versions. You can of course manually open up each past version and save them as separate files.

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  • Same location in Catalina
    – lhf
    Feb 1, 2022 at 17:18
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Versions are stored within the same file so a myfile.pages will have all there versions stored within it.

A version is only stored when you save from the file menu or use cmd- S

The version is just a bit of text that details the changes made since the last version so is not a copy of the file at that stage.

So if you sent the file to someone else they should get all the previous versions as well.

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  • What about the files like the .png images? Clearly a version is stored not only when ⌘S is used.
    – cnst
    Sep 22, 2014 at 17:00
  • Preview doesn't make versions for pictures. The file type of png does not work with versioning on OSX natively. Any pngs within a pages doc for example will be contained within the pages package. (A pages a "file" is in fact a directory of smaller files that are built into the document when opened). Only certain document types are version able. Sep 22, 2014 at 17:21
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    But I do have different versions of a .png file in Preview -- it offers the option of getting back to an older version, all through the File menu on OS X 10.9.
    – cnst
    Sep 22, 2014 at 17:36
  • This answer is incorrect as the versions are definitely not stored within the file itself.
    – jksoegaard
    Feb 1, 2022 at 12:56

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