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How to Change Your Mac's Default Screenshot Directory

Screenshots can prove a fundamentally important way of explaining what's going on with your Mac. Those images are saved to the desktop by default, though, so making many screenshots can clutter your space (and waste system resources).

One warning: Do not delete the folder you select for screenshots unless you've repeated the process below, using the same Terminal command. If that folder is deleted, you're going to have problems.

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 for step 6 and 7, use the command "defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Desktop"

Here's how to change where they go:

1. Click Command+N to open a new Finder window.

2. Click Command+Shift+N to create a new folder, where your screenshots will go. Keep this window open, and hit Command+1 to make sure it's in Grid mode.

3. Hit Command+Space to open Spotlight.

4. Type "terminal" and select Terminal.

5. Ignoring the quotation marks, type "defaults write com.apple.screencapture location " making sure to enter the space at the end after 'location'.

6. Drag the folder you made into the Terminal window. The system directory path to the folder will appear.

7. Click Enter.

Now, your screenshots will appear in this folder.

Again, a warning: Do not delete the folder you select for screenshots unless you've repeated the process below, using the same Terminal command. If that folder is deleted, you're going to have problems.

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 for step 6 and 7, use the command "defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Desktop"

macOS Guide

After graduating from Bard College a B.A. in Literature, Henry T. Casey worked in publishing and product development at Rizzoli and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, respectively. Henry joined Tom's Guide and LAPTOP having written for The Content Strategist, Tech Radar and Patek Philippe International Magazine. He divides his free time between going to live concerts, listening to too many podcasts, and mastering his cold brew coffee process. Content rules everything around him.