Apple Quietly Brings ‘Save As’ Back in Mountain Lion

Apple is bringing back the “Save As” feature in Mountain Lion, though it will only be available as keyboard command, rather than a menu item. Cult-of-Mac reported that developer documentation in OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion” lists a command for “Save As,” which was removed in OS X 10.7 “Lion” to much wailing and gnashing of teeth.


Apple’s decision to remove “Save As” in Lion was truly a perplexing one from the standpoint of long-time Mac and PC users, where saving your current document with a new name and/or location can be a common task. It was seen as part of the “iOS-ification” of OS X, and was related to Sandboxing, Apple’s Versions technology, and a general move towards hiding the file system from Mac users the same way it is hidden from iOS users.

Which is where part of the above-mentioned wailing and gnashing came in, as there is a sizable chunk of Apple’s Mac customer base which is just fine with being able to access the file system, thank you very much. Note that there is another sizable chunk that are blissfully ignorant and are just as happy to remain that way, and they’ll thank you very much, too.

Risking the Deep End

To dip our metaphorical toes into the mixed-metaphor of the nitty-gritty, Apple began a significant shift towards Sandboxing software in Lion. Sandboxing is the name of the concept of applications being isolated from one another, and to a certain extent, from the operating system itself. It makes software both more robust and more secure, but it can also have the side effect of making software less useful, or at least less user-oriented.

Note that many third party applications still include “Save As” as an option in Lion, but that Apple’s own software does not. There is a “Duplicate” command, but no “Save As.”

As part of this Sandboxing effort, Apple wants documents to belong to the software that created them, much like is the case in iOS. One benefit of doing so is that it enabled Apple to let us have access to past versions of that document—hence the feature called “Versions”—almost like a mini-Time Machine specific to each application. From the outside, it seemed that such niceties as “Save As” were acceptable sacrifices in the march towards Sandboxing.

Sweet Succor

If current documentation in developer releases of Mountain Lion are any indication, Apple has capitulated (somewhat) on this issue. As noted by Cult-of-Mac, there is a keyboard command for “Save As” listed under the documentation for “Auto Save.”

Mountain Lion Save As

Mountain Lion “Auto Save” Documentation
Image Credit: Cult-of-Mac

This keyboard command—Command-Shift-Option-S—will allow users to, “save a document using a different name and location.” You know, like you should be able to do on a computer.

At the same time, we should note that as it is currently documented, the “Save As” command will not be available in a menu by default. One supposes that developers could artificially include it in a menu, but it will otherwise be a semi-secret known only to power users whispering feverishly to one another about the wonders of having a modicum of control over one’s files.