When you discover that you overwrote an important document, your first reaction is likely to panic. But if you’re on a Mac, you have a few options for recovering your previous Word, Pages, or Google Docs documents.
We’ll look at a few of them here, and then share suggestions for avoiding the problem in the first place. Let’s start with the easiest solution.
iWork Lets You Browse All Versions of Your Documents
There are lots of reasons to use iWork instead of Microsoft Office. It has many advantages, but the most notable one for the current discussion is its built-in versioning. Every time you save changes to a document, iWork archives a copy that you can recover at a later date.
There are two ways to recover previous versions of your Pages, Numbers, or Keynotes documents. One works when you’re using the Mac app, while the other is for the iCloud website.
How to Recover to Previous iWork Documents in the App
To see the available previous versions of your document, open it in the Pages, Numbers, or Keynote app on your Mac. Then go to File > Revert To > Browse All Versions from the menu bar.
A screen appears with previous versions of your current document. Use the Up and Down arrows to navigate through the previous versions to find what you’re looking for.
When you find the document version you want to recover, click Restore.
How to Recover to Previous iWork Documents in iCloud
If you use iCloud Drive to store your documents, you can also recover previous versions using the iCloud website. You should be able to do this regardless of where you store your documents in iCloud Drive. But Apple suggests you use the dedicated Pages, Numbers, and Keynote folders.
To recover previous documents in iCloud Drive, open a web browser on your Mac and sign in to the iCloud website.
Click the iCloud Drive option and navigate through the folders to find the document you want. Double-click it to open that document in a new window.
Click the Wrench button to show more options and choose Browse All Versions to see the iCloud Drive version history for that document. Select the version you want to recover, then click the Restore button.
You can even restore deleted files from iCloud in case you accidentally deleted the document you’re looking for. If you aren’t saving your documents to iCloud Drive yet, now is a good time to start.
Microsoft Office Uses AutoRecovery to Protect Your Documents
Microsoft 365 (or the standalone Microsoft Office) also saves previous versions of your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. However, this only works if you save your documents in OneDrive, which lets you enable the AutoSave feature as well.
If you don’t use OneDrive, you can still recover previous versions of documents using the AutoRecovery or temporary files on your Mac. We explain each of these methods below.
How to Recover Previous Versions of Documents in Microsoft Office
If you keep your files saved in OneDrive, it’s easy to recover previous versions of your Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents. The process is the same whether you use apps on your Mac or the Office website.
To start, open the latest version of the document you want to recover.
On a Mac, go to File > Browse Version History from the menu bar. On the Office website, go to File > Info > Previous Versions.
After doing so, you’ll see a panel showing all the previously saved versions of your current document. Use the timestamps to decide which one you want to recover. Click it to preview the file, then choose Restore if it’s the version you want.
How to Find Microsoft Office AutoRecovery Files on Your Mac
If Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint stops working, you might lose the latest changes you made to your documents. It’s easy to recover unsaved documents in Microsoft Office when that happens.
All you typically need to do is reopen the app and a Document Recovery window should appear. This lets you grab the unsaved document you were working on before it crashed.
Failing that, you might be able to find the AutoRecovery files manually. This is also the best way to recover Word documents you accidentally saved over on your Mac.
Open a new Finder window and select Go > Go to Folder from the menu bar. Depending on the app you were using—Word, Excel, or PowerPoint—enter one of the following file paths to look at all the AutoRecovery files on your Mac:
/Users/[YOUR USERNAME]/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Excel/Data/Library/Application Support/Microsoft
If you use Microsoft Office 2011, use the following file path for any app:
/Users/[YOUR USERNAME]/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Office 2011 AutoRecovery
If you use Microsoft Office 2008, use the following file path for any app:
/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2008 AutoRecovery
This should take you to the AutoRecovery folder on your Mac, where you can find previous versions of your documents. Look at the timestamps or open each of the documents in this folder to find what you’re looking for.
Note that some files might be hidden. If you haven’t already, make hidden files visible on your Mac. All you need to do is open Finder and press Cmd + Shift + Period.
How to Recover Temporary Microsoft Office Files
Alongside AutoRecovery files, you might be able to restore previous Word documents on your Mac from temporary file storage. You need to use Terminal to access these files. You should find it within the Utilities folder in your Applications, or by searching via Spotlight (Cmd + Space).
After opening Terminal, enter the following command exactly as it appears here, then press Enter to execute it:
Finder should open a new window showing your TemporaryItems folder. Files in this folder usually have nonsense names, so you won’t know if it has what you need straight away.
Start opening the files one-by-one to find out if it has what you’re looking for. As they’re TMP files, you need to use TextEdit or another Mac HTML text editor to open them.
Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides Are Easy to Recover
Unlike Microsoft and Apple’s office suites, Google Docs only lets you access your documents on a Mac using a web browser. The upside of this is that you never need to worry about clicking Save because Google does it automatically. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides also keep previous versions of your documents for recovery.
Open a web browser on your Mac and visit the Google Docs website, then load the document you want to recover. In the top-left, click File > Version history > See version history.
Then navigate through the various versions of your document using the panel that opens on the right. Google Docs highlights the changes made by each user in a different color. So it’s easy to find versions of your document from before any particular person made changes.
Click each version to view a preview of it, then click Restore this version at the top of the screen to restore it.
Avoid Losing Files in the Future
It’s too easy to lose precious documents by saving over files or editing the contents. Most word processors are good at overcoming these obstacles by letting you recover previous versions. But there’s still more you can do to help yourself.
First of all, consider saving your documents in cloud storage like iCloud, OneDrive, or Google Drive. Compared to existing on just your Mac’s hard drive, saving them in the cloud lets you access your documents from anywhere in the world.
Second, build a habit of manually saving your documents as often as possible. On a Mac, just press Cmd + S to save in most apps. If you use Microsoft Word, save your documents to OneDrive and turn on AutoSave. If you use Google Docs, keep an eye on the top of the window to make sure it saves automatically.
Finally, keep local copies of important documents on your Mac as well as in your cloud storage. Then back up your Mac using Time Machine, or any other backup software that supports versioning. That way, you can restore documents from Time Machine if you ever lose anything important.
Read the full article: How to Recover Previous Versions of Pages, Word, and Other Mac Documents
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We might live in an interconnected world, but international laws and policies can’t always keep up with our jet-setting ways. You’ll discover this first-hand if you ever try to change your iTunes or App Store account from one country to another.
Although it is possible to switch your iTunes or App Store country—which we’ll show you how to do below—doing so comes with a fair amount of drawbacks, like losing access to all your previous purchases.
Here’s everything you need to know about this process.
The Problem With Changing Your iTunes or App Store Country
Each country accesses a different version of iTunes or the App Store. Sometimes these stores have different apps, music, movies, and other media available in them. But even if two stores have exactly the same content, you can only access your purchased media from the store you bought it from.
That means you lose access to all your existing iTunes and App Store purchases when you change your Apple ID to a different country.
Anything already on your device is still available to use and apps you’ve already downloaded still get the latest updates. But you’ll need to change the App Store and iTunes settings back to your original country again if you want to access purchases that you hadn’t already downloaded.
The biggest issue with this is that you need a valid payment method for whichever country you want to change iTunes and the App Store to. You can’t use an Australian credit card in the US App Store, for example.
So if you moved from Australia to the US, you’d need to get an American credit card to change to the US App Store. Then, if you ever wanted to access your Australian purchases again, you’d need to use your old Australian card to change back. This might be impossible to do if you moved to America permanently and your Australian payment details have expired.
One way to get around this problem is to create a second Apple ID account, rather than changing the settings for your existing one.
The Benefits of Creating a Second Apple ID Account
Instead of changing the country or region for your existing iTunes and App Store account, sometimes it’s beneficial to create a second Apple ID to use instead. With two separate accounts—one for Australia and one for the US, for example—you can switch between them at any time without needing to update your payment information.
All you would need to do is sign out of iTunes and the App Store on your device, then sign in again using the second account. After doing so, you get instant access to all the iTunes and App Store content from that country, including your previous purchases.
It’s possible to create a new Apple ID account without attaching any payment information to it, allowing you to download free media from iTunes or the App Store in any country. If you want to buy something from another country, you can either add a payment method from that country or purchase a foreign iTunes gift card to use with that account.
The problem with this method is that it splits your purchases across two separate accounts. You need to associate each of them with a separate email address. And if you lose access to one of the accounts, you also lose all the purchases you made using it.
How to Keep iTunes and App Store Purchases From a Different Country
If you’ve already downloaded them to your device, you can still use any apps, music, movies, TV shows, books, and other iTunes or App Store purchases regardless of which country or account you purchased them from.
That means you should download all the purchases you want to keep using before changing your iTunes and App Store country, or before creating a separate Apple ID account.
If possible, create another copy of these purchases by making an iPhone backup on a computer. When creating the backup, be sure to select the option to Back up all the data from your device to your computer.
If you lose access to your original Apple ID account or if you’re unable to change the iTunes and App Store back to your original country, you can restore this backup to retrieve your original purchases.
How to Change the iTunes and App Store Country Settings
If you are moving to a different country permanently—meaning you only expect to change the country for iTunes and the App Store once—then you should change the settings for your account.
Otherwise, you should create a second account to make it easier to switch between iTunes and App Store countries multiple times. This second method is particularly useful if you don’t have a payment method for the new country you want to use.
We explain each option below.
Method 1: Change the Country Settings for iTunes and the App Store
There are a few steps you need to take before you can change your iTunes and App Store settings to a different country:
- Cancel any existing subscriptions on your account, such as Apple Music or Apple TV+.
- Leave your Family Sharing group, unless you’re the Family Organizer.
- Spend any remaining credit in your Apple ID account.
- Download any apps, music, movies, TV shows, books, or other media you might want to access in the future.
You also need to make sure you have a valid payment method and billing address for your new country. You’ll need to add this payment method to your Apple ID account when you change countries.
While you can change the iTunes or App Store country from any device, you only need to do it once. After you change the settings on one device, it affects the same account across all your other Apple devices as well.
On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:
- Open the Settings app and go to [Your Name] > iTunes & App Store.
- Tap your Apple ID username and choose to View Apple ID from the popup.
- Tap Country/Region and choose to Change Country or Region, then select the new country you want to change to.
- After agreeing to the Terms and Conditions, enter the payment information and billing address for your new country and tap Done.
On a Mac:
- Open Apple Music and go to Account > View My Account from the menu bar.
- Under the Apple ID Summary section, click the option to Change Country or Region.
- Select the new country you want to change to.
- After agreeing to the Terms and Conditions, enter the payment information and billing address for your new country and tap Done.
Method 2: Create a Second Apple ID Account for Another Country
Creating a second Apple ID account is the best way to switch iTunes and the App Store to a different country temporarily. You don’t need a foreign payment method and it’s easy to switch back and forth between your old account and the new one within the App Store itself.
The easiest way to create a new Apple ID account is directly on your device. When you do so, make sure you select the right country for your new account. You’ll need to confirm this by adding a billing address in that country and verifying your account with an email address (and possibly a phone number as well).
You can use any phone number, even if it’s from a different country. But you need to use a new email address that isn’t linked to an existing Apple ID account.
On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:
- Go to Settings > [Your Name] > Sign Out.
- Choose which iCloud data to save to your device and tap Sign Out.
- Open the App Store and tap the Account icon in the top-right corner, then choose to Create New Apple ID.
- Select your new country beneath the email address and password fields.
- Enter an email address and password to use with your new account. You can’t use an email address associated with another Apple ID account.
- Tap Next and fill in every requested Apple ID field. If you don’t have a payment method for this country, choose None. Even without a payment method, you need to find a billing address you can use in this country.
- Tap Done when you’re finished to create your new account.
Top Up Your Account With an iTunes Gift Card
After you create a new Apple ID account or change the settings on your existing account, you should be able to access content from iTunes or the App Store in the new country of your choice.
To make purchases, you need to ensure your payment information and billing address matches your new country. Alternatively, buy an international gift card and use it to add credit to your account. Learn all there is to know about iTunes Gift Cards before buying one to make sure you get what you need.
Read the full article: What to Know Before Changing iTunes and App Store Country
Linux has long been synonymous with bootable flash drives, whether it’s to fix some sort of problem with your primary operating system, or for trying various distros.
There are a few ways to create an Ubuntu (or other Linux) bootable USB drive for Mac. You can go the freeware route for an easy option, or put a little bit of time into creating the drive yourself using Terminal. Let’s look at both methods.
First: Prepare Your USB Drive
When you’re looking to create a bootable Linux USB drive on a Mac, the first step is to make sure you’ve got the right USB drive for the job, and that it’s formatted correctly to avoid any problems.
Some Linux variants may require larger volumes, so pay attention to the requirements when downloading. Generally speaking, anything above 4GB will do the job. Others don’t have any strict requirements, but formatting to FAT beforehand is a good idea regardless.
Warning: Everything on your drive will be erased when you do this!
- Insert your USB drive into your Mac and launch Disk Utility (under Applications > Utilities, or search for it using Spotlight with Cmd + Space).
- Select your USB device in the menu on the left, then click Erase.
- Give it a name and choose MS-DOS (FAT) under Format and GUID Partition Map under Scheme.
- Hit Erase to apply the changes. If it fails, try again—sometimes the system doesn’t unmount the volume in time and the process will be unable to complete.
If you have persistent problems, try another USB drive. Now download a Linux distro to install on your USB stick, and you’re ready to get started.
Make a Bootable Linux USB Drive With Etcher
balenaEtcher is a free open source tool for burning disc images onto USB and SD drives. It makes creating bootable devices completely foolproof:
- Grab your desired Linux image, then download Etcher and install it.
- Insert your USB stick, then launch Etcher.
- Click Select image and find the Linux image you downloaded—Etcher supports IMG, ISO, and ZIP, among others.
- Ensure the correct USB device is selected—hit Change to see a list of connected devices.
- Finalize the process by clicking Flash and wait for the process to complete.
You’ll likely see an error message warning that your USB drive isn’t compatible with your Mac. That’s normal—simply eject and go. Your bootable Linux USB drive is now ready; you can now skip to the Booting Your USB Drive section below.
Create a Live USB Using the Terminal
If for some reason you don’t want to use Etcher (maybe you’re on an incompatible version of macOS), you can accomplish this task using the command line. It’s possible using Terminal, your Mac’s built-in command line interface.
While this method requires a little more thought and patience, it’s actually pretty straightforward. You might even learn something new, plus you’ll feel smart afterwards. Assuming you’ve formatted your drive per the earlier instructions, here’s how it works:
1. Convert Your ISO
Launch Terminal and take note of where your Linux disc image is stored in Finder. Convert your image (usually an ISO) to an IMG file using the
hdiutil convert command:
hdiutil convert [/path/to/downloaded.iso] -format UDRW -o [/path/to/newimage]
[/path/to/downloaded.iso] with the location of your own ISO (you can drag and drop directly into the Terminal window if you want) and
[/path/to/newimage] to wherever you want the new image file to be created.
Note: Modern versions of macOS will automatically create a .DMG file. If your version doesn’t do this, try appending IMG to the end of your new image file name, such as
2. Write the Image to USB
Next, you’ll need to identify your drive’s mounted location so you can tell the Mac which drive to use. With Terminal open, use the following command to list all connected drives:
You’ll likely be able to identify the drive by its name, format, and size using a process of elimination. Take a note of the listing under the IDENTIFIER column, then unmount the drive using the following command:
diskutil unmountDisk /dev/[diskX]
You’ll need to replace [
diskX] with the corresponding number, like
disk3—if successful, Terminal will report that the disk was unmounted. If you’re having trouble unmounting a drive, you can launch Disk Utility, right-click on a drive, then choose Unmount (don’t eject the drive, though).
The final step is to write the image to your USB stick, using the
sudo dd if=[/path/to/newimage.dmg] of=/dev/[diskN] bs=1m
[/path/to/newimage.dmg] with the path to the file created in the first step (again, drag and drop works best), and [
diskN] with the location identified earlier. You’ll need to authorize with your administrator password immediately afterwards, since you used the
You’re now done, and your drive is ready for booting.
Booting Your USB Drive
Assuming all went well, you’ll now have a USB drive that will let you boot into Linux. Plug it into the Mac you want to use it on, then shut down the computer.
In order to access your Mac’s boot menu, you’ll need to hold the Option (Alt) key while it boots. The best way to do this is to shut down, hold the Option key, start your Mac, and wait. If you did it correctly, you’ll see a few options including your built-in hard drive and the USB device created earlier, titled EFI Boot.
To boot into Linux, select the USB device and click the arrow (or double-click it). Depending on what you’re using, you may get another menu which acts as a bootloader for your particular flavor of Linux.
If you have problems, or your USB drive won’t show up, try running the process again, using an alternative method above, running off a different USB stick or port, or consulting your respective distro’s help documentation.
The Best Way to Try Linux on Your Mac
Assuming all went well, you now have Linux running on your Mac and you can test it out or install it outright if you’re tired of macOS. You still have an Apple recovery partition which is accessible by holding Cmd + R while your machine boots. This can help you reinstall macOS (or apply other fixes) if you decide to go back.
There are other tools that claim to help you do this, but not all of them work, and some cost money. Unetbootin is still a popular choice for Linux and Windows users, but is not as good as Etcher on a Mac (and has some issues on newer versions of macOS).
There’s also our old favorite Mac Linux USB Loader, which is open source and actively maintained. It’ll cost you $5 for a pre-compiled binary, assuming you don’t want to download Xcode and compile it yourself. This low entry fee helps keep the project maintained, but it’s hard to justify paying for something when there are perfectly good free alternatives.
For more, check out how to install macOS from a USB flash drive. And if you’d prefer to install Linux on your internal drive, our guide on how to dual-boot Linux on your Mac is your essential next read.
Read the full article: How to Create and Boot From a Linux USB Drive on Mac