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How to restore images edited in Preview on macOS

Preview has quite the set of editing tools for images. You can crop and resize an image, you can draw over it, and you can convert it to a different format. Generally speaking, when you edit an image in an image editing tool, the changes are permanent. With Preview though, there’s an option to restore an edited image back to its original version, or to a previous version. Here’s how.

Restore images edited in Preview

Open the image that you want to restore to its original version in Preview. On the menu bar, go to File and select the Revert To option. The sub-menu will show you the recent versions of the image that are available but it will not show all of them. Click the ‘Browse All Versions…‘ option.

Use the arrows on the right to browse the different versions of the image that Preview has. Once you find the original version, or any other version that you’d like to restore the image to, click the ‘Restore’ button at the bottom.

Preview records a new version of an image each time you tap the Command+S keyboard shortcut. It also offers a helpful timeline along the right of the image history view to navigate the different versions that are available, and pick the one you want to restore.

The image is restored right away and you’re free to edit it again. Editing it will create a new version of the image that is separate from the other versions that Preview already has.

Delete file versions in Preview

It goes without saying that while this feature is useful, it can also pose a security threat. You may have cropped out a part of an image to keep classified information out of it but a restored version will add it right back. To prevent this from happening, you need to delete the version with the classified information. Again, this is pretty easy to do.

Open the file in Preview. On the menu bar, go to File>Revert To.

Once you’re in the version browser, select the version that you’d like to delete. Hover the mouse over the top of the screen and wait for the menu bar to appear. Once the menu bar is visible, go to File>Revert to and the sub-menu will have an option to ‘Delete This Version’. Click it and that particular version of the file will be removed permanently. It goes without saying that there will be no way to restore the version once you delete it.

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