Apple Quietly Brings ‘Save As’ Back in Mountain Lion

| Analysis

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.

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as far as dp3 pressing the option key shows save as in the file menu.
the main problem consist in the autosave and versions themselves.
I have tried to remove the invisible versions directory an c reated a link to /dev/null
it seems to work


I am so glad Save As is coming back.

I remember using Lion for the first time thinking: “Just when you think it’s safe to recommend a PC user switch to a Mac… “

Removing “Save As” was one of the most irritating moves Apple ever made. That, and reversing the scroll direction.. which I’m still getting used to.

Gareth Harris

I group my files by project, not by application. Organizing files by app is the act of a newbie.


@brett_x You can change the scroll direction to the way you like it.


Removing ?Save As? was one of the most irritating moves Apple ever made. That, and reversing the scroll direction.. which I?m still getting used to.

Getting used to the reversed scroll direction took all of 3 days for me.  Also, you can set in User Preferences to have the scroll be in the “old” way.  I prefer the new way, as it’s consistent with the iOS and since I don’t use a mouse (just touch pad on MBP), it’s intuitively correct.  I would imagine a mouse control would be more appropriate using the old direction.


I group my files by project, not by application. Organizing files by app is the act of a newbie.

Yes, but Sand-boxing, and iOS in general, doesn’t have good support for workflows that involve multiple apps or steps (i.e. pretty much all professional workflows). But, Apple doesn’t care about pros, so they don’t care about this issue.


I am glad to see the “Save As” command returning, if only as a keyboard shortcut. For the average consumer, saving files by application may be okay. But for a working creative professional with multiple clients, it is NOT okay. Why Apple finds this so difficult to understand is beyond comprehension. Oh, wait, that must be part of that “Think Different” culture.

I’m taking a “wait and see” attitude before I jump on the upgrade bandwagon. I can’t afford to lose productivity because Apple decides it has a better way for me to use my computer, without ever asking me how I use my computer.

It is nice to see Apple admit it made a mistake, although I don’t really think that is what they’re doing. Remember when Steve Jobs declared that the matte screen on the MacBook Pro was dead. That didn’t last long, thankfully. OH, please don’t tell me that they’re dropping the matte (anti-glare) screen option in the new MacBook Pro’s announced yesterday!

My faith in Apple is not fully restored, but it is nice to see a small victory for those of us who choose to take responsibility for how, where, and when our files are saved.


I think Apple is on a real slide. There’s a definite trend towards mediocrity and features for features sake in their software:


I hate to admit that after using reverse scrolling for about half an hour it seemed totally natural.  The bad thing is at work I try to do it with my windows machine and have to readjust.  In general though I really dislike how Apple makes these big audacious moves with features people have grown used to over their entire lives, and really have no reason to change, seemingly smugly saying to themselves that people would get used to it because they’re apple.


That is one of my biggest gripes about lion and mountain lion was the exclusion of save as. Otherwise, I love everything about it. I just wish they would include it in the file menu as well.
You need the save as option-why fix something that wasn’t broken


This article needs some explanation of why a “save as” command is necessarily against the principle of “sandboxing” and why is is technically impossible to not have a “save as” facility in addition to some form of “sandboxing” to be anywhere near complete and functional.


I would like to find out if it is possible by key board or any other manner to use “Save As” with Apple to change a pdf or tiff to a jpeg.  Any suggestions?

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