How to Change Where Screenshots Are Saved on Your Mac

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When you take a screenshot on your Mac – using the Shift-Command-3 shortcut to capture the whole screen, or Shift-Command-4 to capture a portion of it – the image files are saved straight to your desktop. This can result in this:

no screenshots
If you'd like to change that default save location to somewhere different, simply follow the steps below.

If you're running macOS Mojave or later, you can press Shift-Command-5 to invoke the screen capture panel, click on Options and choose "Other Location" to choose a destination.

options

For versions of macOS prior to Mojave, you'll have to follow these instructions:

How to Change Where Screenshots Get Saved on Mac (Prior to Mojave)

  1. Open a Finder window and press Shift-Command-N to create a new folder where you want your screenshots to be saved, and give the folder a recognizable name.
    screenshot save location 1

  2. Launch the Terminal app (found in Applications/Utilities).
    terminal

  3. Type in the following command and then press the spacebar, but don't hit Enter just yet: defaults write com.apple.screencapture location
    terminal

  4. Now drag the folder you just created into the Terminal window. The folder's path should appear after the command you typed in. Press Enter.
    screenshot save location 2

Your captured images will now be saved in the designated folder whenever you use the screenshot shortcuts.

Important note: Do not delete this folder until you've changed the save location to somewhere else using the same Terminal command, or you'll run into issues. If you want to switch things back in future so that images are saved on your desktop again, simply input the Terminal command as above, but change the path to ~/Desktop.

Top Rated Comments

Darth-Kylie Avatar
26 weeks ago
In Catalina, Shift-Cmd-5, click Options, choose Other Location. Sticky setting.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
darkpaw Avatar
26 weeks ago
Couple of issues with this. If you're writing out steps, they really need to be correct, or you end up confusing the user, someone who may never have used Terminal before.

Step 1: You don't need to click the folder's name, because when you press Shift + Command + N, the folder's name is already highlighted for editing. Also, you can always just press Enter to rename a file.

Step 3: Be sure to tell the user to add a space at the end, or their Terminal command will be "defaults write com.apple.screencapture locationFOLDER". I realise that the text on the article does have the space at the end, but a non-expert won't know that it's meant to be there unless you point it out to them.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arn Avatar
26 weeks ago
article's been updated. Though the real trick is getting a screenshot of the screenshot options. ;)
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arn Avatar
26 weeks ago


More importantly though, is it possible to save screenshots immediately? I HATE when I take a screenshot and must wait for it to disappear from the bottom right and appear onto the desktop. Yes I know I can drag it but sometimes that ends up opening it by mistake due to double clicking the thumbnail on the bottom right. Can't you make it instant "like in the old days?"

[IMG width="382px"]https://images.macrumors.com/t/or0F3p4kfgCgZJDHxkDGml4E3Mk=/1600x0/filters:quality(90)/article-new/2020/06/options.jpg[/IMG]

In the same Command-Shift-5 Options pop up. Uncheck "Show Floating Thumbnail" -- but I still feel like it takes too long to appear.

arn
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Hieveryone Avatar
26 weeks ago
Hey now this is a good article. Thanks MR :)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ritsuka Avatar
26 weeks ago


In Catalina, Shift-Cmd-5, click Options, choose Other Location. Sticky setting.

Yup, there is no need to use Terminal…
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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