How to Clear Document Version History and Autosave Cache

Mac storage space is important to us. And it should be important to you too. The performance of our Macs is tied to our available storage space. A Mac with a full hard disk is going to be very slow and make it harder for apps and the OS to run smoothly.

Today we want to discuss the silent storage killers: the Pages, Notes, and Keynote apps.

It's easy to identify big video files and other obvious storage space hogs. But what about apps that create small temporary and cache files? These files are tiny on their own but if they are constantly generated by the app and the user (when saving files) then over time these grains of sand can become a full-scale beach.

Delete document version history

Why documents use more space than you think and what to do

If you are a regular user of Pages, Notes, or Keynote, then you potentially have thousands of old documents, old versions of these old documents, and cache files related to these old documents. If your head is spinning, we don’t blame you. But fear not because we're going to show you how to clear out the junk made by these apps and reclaim a nice chunk of your Mac storage space.

How to remove document version on Mac

How to clear document version history and auto-save cache manually

When working on a document you can always roll back to a previous version with the Version History screen. But if you don’t want or need to roll back on certain documents, it would be a good idea to remove document versions and free up some space.

We’re going to show you have to accomplish that and also clear the cache for Pages, Keynote, and Notes. All you need is Finder and a bit of bravery. Before using these manual solutions, please make sure that your current documents are saved, and you don't need old (unsaved) versions of your documents.

Ready? Let's go!

To manually remove versions and cache from Pages:

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Click on the Go menu.
  3. Select Go To Folder.
  4. Type in /Users/yourusername/Library/Containers/
  5. To be safe backup the Caches folder to an external location
  6. Then you can move the original Caches folder to the Trash and then empty your Trash
Caches and document versions

The steps for Notes and Keynote are the same, just using a different file path.

Notes - /Users/Username/Library/Containers/

Keynote - /Users//Library/Containers/

How to cleanup document versions manually

Delete those folders, and your Mac should be a lot cleaner, with a significant amount of freed up space for personal file storage or a better performing system.

The problem with the manual approach is the potential for deleting the wrong thing as well as the black and white nature of the manual removal. You either have all your app cache, or you have none of it. Wouldn’t it be better if there was a way to remove the bulk of old document versions but keep a select few in case you ever need to go back to a previous version?

Well, there is a way, and that’s what we’re going to cover next.

How to take easily remove document versions

Instead of completely removing the file history of your Notes, Pages, and Keynote documents, why not get a clear overview of all your document history and then make your own decision? This way you can keep some basic version history while removing the majority of the version files that you’ll never need.

You free up a lot of storage space on your Mac while still having backup versions if you ever need them. It's the best of both worlds.

Do it with a dedicated app

This can’t be done manually but can be achieved with the help of CleanMyMac. This is a Mac decluttering app that covers this problem. It will give you an overview of your version history for Pages, Notes, and Keynote. CleanMyMac will present early versions of backup files from every four-hour block of time working on the file.

So if you were working on a Keynote presentation for 12 hours total, you might have hundreds of versions auto-saved by the app. CleanMyMac will keep the last version from each four-hour block for a total of three versions. Let’s see how it works.

To review and clean document versions follow these steps:

  1. Get a copy of CleanMyMac X app — it's free version is available for download here
  2. Click on the System Junk module.
  3. Click on Scan.
  4. Click on Review Details.
  5. Find and click on the Document Versions folder.

Now you can select either Pages/Notes/Keynote. Expand the document file of your choosing and select the versions you want to remove. If you click the Clean button at the bottom the temporary version will be deleted.

Note: This way CleanMyMac removes only the intermediary versions, keeping the first and the last document versions intact. 

CleanMyMac X - Document versions

If you don't want to review your documents and you just want CleanMyMac to remove 99.9% of version history and cache junk immediately, it can be done in just two clicks:  

  1. Launch CleanMyMac X
  2. Click on System Junk module
  3. Click Clean
CleanMyMac X - System junk scan complete

These methods don?t just work for document apps like Pages, Notes, and Keynote. They work for many other macOS apps that store caches, including "cache eaters" like Chrome and Safari.

The results of cache and document version cleaning

We ran CleanMyMac X on a typical Mac system that uses Pages, Notes, and Keynote on a regular basis. As you can see below, the removal of the cache and version history freed up 5 GB of space.

Did you ever imagine that document apps could be wasting so much space?

Try these cleaning methods yourself and see how much hard disk space you can reclaim from the silent storage killers.

In doing so you will become the killer of junk!

    Laptop with CleanMyMac
    CleanMyMac X

    Your Mac. As good as new.