Suffering from data loss and crashing applications is, thankfully, a fairly uncommon occurrence on a Mac – but it still happens. There’s nothing more aggravating than losing a few hours of work, simply because you forgot to hit the save button. It happens to even the most proficient computer – we all suffer from “Untitled Document Syndrome” from time to time.
One new application aiming to combat our reluctance to save documents is EverSave, a free menu bar tool which can automatically save your open documents after a set time interval, or when switching between applications. The idea is a simple one, but could save you a real headache when you accidentally close an application without thinking. This review will provide an overview of EverSave, the various options and settings available, and a few areas which need further development.
Configuring the App
After installing EverSave you’re prompted to alter the general preferences. You can instruct EverSave to save all the currently open documents/applications, or just the one you’re currently working on. In addition, you’re able to switch between saving at a given interval or whenever you switch between applications.
The additional settings are useful, but when activated make the tool more obtrusive rather than being simply allowed to do its job in the background.
It’s unlikely that you’ll want to save the contents of every application you have open – some (Safari and iTunes for instance) simply don’t require any form of save function. In the Applications preference pane you can define a list of apps which you’d like EverSave to interact with:
If you’d rather add applications as you use them, click the ‘Ask on every unknown application’ checkbox to build up a list as you work. If the opposite system would be easier to manage – i.e. you’d like to maintain a blacklist of applications and save all others – you can swap by clicking the small ‘No Entry’ icon in the lower left.
Save Timer and Method
If you’ve chosen to save at a given time interval, the Timer preference pane will allow you to choose the save delay. In addition, there are two different methods of saving a document to choose from:
- Use standard EverSave function – this will automatically and silently save your document in the background, but isn’t supported by all applications
- Simulate the save shortcut – this option emulates clicking Apple+S, but is fairly clunky and would likely become annoying
The main problem with EverSave becomes apparent when using an application which doesn’t support the ‘silent’ saving feature. Numbers, for instance, displays a small popup window and progress bar every time a save is initiated. Obviously this becomes frustrating quite quickly. Fortunately, it’s easy to activate and deactivate EverSave when moving between applications through a keyboard shortcut, so you can turn it on only when working in a supported application if desired.
Menu Bar Interface
You’re notified that a document is being saved through a change of colour in EverSave’s menu bar icon. In addition, this can be set to display a ‘countdown’ or audible alert upon saving.
A useful menu bar option is to ‘Save all running applications…’, which does what you’d expect. You can then tell your system to shut down or sleep if desired.
A planned application for the near future will be a pro version offering versioning-style functionality, allowing you to revert back to a previous state at any point. This could certainly be useful, but would seem to duplicate functionality offered by Time Machine (albeit on a more regular interval).
EverSave is a great concept, and I really like the idea of an app that prompts me to save my document or, if already saved, updates the saved version. It’s a problem which has plagued computer users for many years and still no foolproof, universal solution exists.
If you work primarily in applications which support background saving then I’d recommend downloading the app to try it out. If, however, you find that you’re interrupted every time your document is saved, I expect you’ll find EverSave a little too intrusive for now. I really hope that development continues and I look forward to giving it another go when a wider range of applications are supported.