Information Technology Reference
Restore Data within Applications
When Time Machine was first introduced, Apple made a big deal about
the fact that it could find and restore not only entire files in the Finder,
but even individual items within applications—such as pictures in
iPhoto, contacts in Address Book (which was later renamed Contacts),
and messages in Mail. GarageBand '08 and later can also restore
projects from within the application using Time Machine. But Apple
far as I know, Contacts, Mail, and GarageBand are the only three
applications remaining with built-in Time Machine support. At this
point, I'm sorry to say, prospects for such support extending to other
applications seem dim.
Note: Mac OS X's Versions feature, which is superficially similar
to Time Machine, does let you restore multiple versions of files
from within many other applications. I say more about it in Version
To restore one or more contacts in Contacts:
1. In Contacts, switch to any view in which the contact you're looking
for should appear—for example, a search that should bring up the
2. Click the Time Machine icon in the Dock or choose Enter Time
Machine from the Time Machine
menu. Contacts becomes the
center of the “time warp” screen.
3. Using the back and forward arrows, or the navigation controls on
the right side of the screen, move to one of your backups.
4. Select one or more contacts and click Restore; or, to restore all the
contacts from that backup, click Restore All.
Contacts restores the selected contacts; if you clicked Restore All,
it merges the set from your backup with your current set of contacts
(with, I must point out, the possibility of some duplicates).