One of my favorite functions on the Mac computer I work with daily is “Apple Z.”

Basically, it allows a do-over of whatever just took place. In other words, if you hit a wrong key by accident or do something else that causes a major problem, you can backtrack and then carry on as if the blunder never occurred. Or if you somehow lose everything on your screen (which isn’t a good feeling when you’re on deadline), you can make it reappear as if it never went bye-bye.

You can even go back multiple steps simply by hitting Apple Z multiple times. I’ve even taken advantage of that more or less on purpose numerous times when I’m designing a page or something like that. I’ll try this and that and not be impressed by it, and then return to where I was before I got off track and then move forward again.

Apple Z might be the most human-friendly function on a computer, because it exists solely to address the reality that humans are going to make mistakes. And it does so in an efficient, non-evasive and merciful manner that passes no judgment on the user.

In a way, Apple Z is kind of like a digital time machine, because it takes you back to where you were moments earlier. The function has the power to electronically transport you back to a kinder, gentler time before the arrival of a potential project-killing calamity.

While it’s fairly inconspicuous and understated, it has more than once for many people been a virtual lifesaver.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could utilize a similar function in daily life? Man, I can think of dozens of times I could have benefited big-time from something like Apple Z.

Think about it: Whenever you wanted a do-over you could just spin things back a few seconds and roll tape again. Here are some random examples of how it might work.

•Friend: “Here, try this Killer Deadly Mongo Lava Habanero Hot Sauce. I know how much you like hot sauce, and you’ll want to use lots.”

Unsuspecting victim: “Lots. Sounds good.”

Apple Z.

•Boss: “Would you mind stopping what you’re doing and taking care of this?”

Employee: “Actually, yes, I do mind. How about if I get to it when I have some extra time – which will probably happen, like, pretty much never.”

Apple Z.

•Cop: “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

Driver: “Yeah, but I still would love to listen to you explain it to me.”

Apple Z.

•Teacher: “Did you do your homework?”

Student: “You were serious about that? I thought you were kidding. You’re such a kidder.”

Apple Z.

•Father: “Did you put the dishes in the dishwasher away and take out the trash?”

Daughter: “Maybe I did, and maybe I didn’t. You know, you could find out for yourself by looking in the dishwasher and the garbage can.”

Apple Z.

•Safari guide: “I wouldn’t get to close to that lion if I was you.”

Ignorant and naive guy from the city: “Oh, it’s just a big ol’ fluffy cat. Here kitty – want a piece of this sandwich?”

Apple Z.

•Serpent: “Go ahead Eve, take a bite of that apple. It’s OK, God won’t mind.”

Eve: “Don’t mind if I do. Hey Adam, try this.”

Apple Z.

•Woman: “Do you think this dress makes me look big?”

Man: “Not really.”

Apple Z! Escape! Delete! Restart!

But alas, Apple Z is in fact only a function for computer users, and we should probably all conduct ourselves with that in mind. It’s either that or face the consequences of what we say or do.

Hmmm, that sounds a lot like accountability, and I feel like there are a lot of people trying to tab past it, escape from it, or completely delete it from their lives.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email:

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Doug Davison

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at

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