How To Choose Where Downloaded Files Are Saved

When you download a file in Safari, the file is saved in the default location, usually the Downloads folder. You can select any location as the default in Safari Preferences. You can also have Safari ask you each time you download a file and then you can select the location and even change the filename. You can also bring up the context menu in most cases and decide whether to use the default location or a specific location each time.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: How To Choose Where Downloaded Files Are Saved.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. MacMost is brought to you by the more than 300 people that support it through the MacMost Patreon Campaign. You can find out how to become part of that at macmost.com/patreon.

So online I notice a lot of people ask the question when I download a file using Safari how can I control where the file goes to. There are a few methods to do this. The first you've got the default location. So when you see a link like this you can click it and it will just download. Now if you go into Safari, Preferences under General you can look here and there's File download location. The default is the Downloads folder which is in your Home folder and is a folder unto itself.

But you can also switch it to something else. So you can select Other here and choose any folder you want. You can choose the Desktop. You can choose a specific folder in your Documents folder. It's pretty easy to change. So if you have to download say fifty different documents for work and you want to put them in a special folder you can change it to be that folder and then change it back to the Downloads folder after.

You can also select Ask For Each Download. When you do that and you click on a download link it's going to actually come up with a box here and you can specify where it goes and you can even change its name. So that's really handy.

No matter what your default setting is you can always change it on a per download basis. So instead of just clicking on the link for Download you can Control click, hold the Control key down and click, or you know on the trackpad and mouse you can use two fingers and click and you get the Context menu. The Context menu for a download link is going to include Download Linked File, which is the default location. But you can also do Download Linked File As. If you select that it's always going to come up with this dialogue here so you can select a location.

So I can change my preference and say I want it to go to the Downloads folder by default but still bring up the Context menu, select Download Linked File As and select its location. So you get the best of both worlds. You can get occasional times when you want to save it to a special location or change its name before saving and you can have a default location for most times.

Now this doesn't always work because webpages have a lot of variety in how they setup these links. There can be scripting and all sorts of things in these download links to control exactly what happens. So you don't always get a clean download link like I'm using here. Sometimes it's a little bit different. But most pages, if they're created correctly, really should give you a nice clean download link that will obey your default location and Control clicking on it to select Download Linked File As so you can save the file where you want.

Comments: 6 Responses to “How To Choose Where Downloaded Files Are Saved”

    Lynne
    3 weeks ago

    excellent tutorial — I’ve been a Mac user for 20+ years and didn’t know that – how did I miss it, LOL?? thanks.

    Lynne
    3 weeks ago

    guess I commented too soon – after commenting on your above tutorial, I decided to try it and there is no option to set where files are downloaded! I’m on a Macbook Pro, 1 TB HD, OS Sierra (the latest update)…. no option to to a screenshot here? suggestions? thanks

    3 weeks ago

    Lynne: Post a screen grab to imgr.com if you like. Or just tell me what steps you are using. Are you following along with the video?

    Phil
    3 weeks ago

    I recently moved my downloads folder to my iCloud Drive because I wanted to be able to access all downloaded files in this folder from different Macs. Safari stopped downloading files, even though I had remapped the downloads path in Safari’s Pref. to the Downloads folder in the iCloud Drive. I had to create another Downloads folder under my user account to get Safari to download files. Any ideas how I can get Safari to recognize the Downloads folder in my iCloud Drive as a valid destination?

    3 weeks ago

    Phil: Not sure why it isn’t working for you. Just try setting it to that folder you created again.

    Shirley
    3 weeks ago

    I have set downloads to go to my desktop in Safari Preferences now in Mojave I have to confirm that location each time. Is there some way to make it automatic?

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