How to Use Spring-loaded Folders to Move Files Efficiently on Mac

Easily move files through hierarchical folders

by: - Last updated on: August 28th, 2021
Key Takeaways
  • While the traditional way of moving files on Mac works fine, it can make the process quite tedious if you need to carry out the operation several times.
  • Spring-loaded folders is a Finder feature that can solve this problem by significantly reducing the time and effort involved in moving files on Mac.
  • Using spring-loading folders, you can move files, folders, or apps between different folders on your Mac with ease without having to go back and forth between them.

Finder is the default file manager for macOS that features an intuitive interface to simplify file, directory, and disk management operations on your Mac. In addition, it also includes a few extra features such as a status bar, file extensions, tags, and smart folders, which further extend its functionality and usability.

spring-loaded folders Mac

You may be familiar with some of these features, but one that hasn’t been talked about much is spring-loaded folders.

In this guide, we’ll explore spring-loaded folders and go over how to use them to move files on your Mac.

What is Spring-loaded Folders?

Spring-loaded folders is a Finder feature that lets you move files, folders, or apps from one folder to another folder (or its subfolder) on your Mac with ease.

It works by allowing you to open and view the contents of a folder by simply hovering the files you want to move over it. That way, you don’t have to go back and forth between the source and destination folders, as with the conventional way, to move these files.

Besides folders, other locations where you can see spring-loading in action include stacks and sidebar items (folders, disks, etc.).

How to Enable and Configure Spring-loaded Folders?

Most macOS versions have spring-loaded folders enabled by default. To ensure it’s enabled on your Mac, follow the steps below.

  1. Open System Preferences and go to Accessibility.
    enabling spring-loaded folders on Mac
  2. Select Pointer Control under Motor from the left-hand pane.
    enabling spring-loaded folders on Mac
  3. Under Mouse & Trackpad on the right window, make sure the checkbox next to Spring-loading delay is checked. If it isn’t, check it off to enable spring-loaded folders.
    enabling spring-loaded folders on Mac

While you’re at it, you can also customize the spring-loaded folder delay to suit your preference. For this, move the Spring-loading delay slider back and forth to increase or decrease the time it takes to spring up (open) a folder. Alternatively, you can stick with the default spring-loading delay setting and change it later.

How to Use Spring-loaded Folders?

Once you’ve enabled spring-loaded folders on your Mac, follow the steps below to use it for moving your files on Mac.

1. Go to the folder/location from where you want to move your files.
using spring-loaded folders to move files on Mac

2. Select the files you wish to move, click-drag them, and hover over the folder where you want to drop them. If the destination folder is nested in a folder hierarchy, hover over each folder until you reach the desired folder and release the mouse button to drop the files there.

using spring-loaded folders to move files on Mac

On the other hand, if you want to move the contents of a folder to another folder lower or higher in the folder structure, you can do so by spring-loading folders using the arrow buttons in the toolbar. To do this, select the files, hover them over the back or forward arrow button, and release the mouse to drop the files to your desired folder. In case you want to go more than one folder lower or higher in the structure, continue to go deeper into the directory by hovering over the arrow keys until your desired folder springs. And then, drop the files there.

using spring-loaded folders to move files on Mac

Similarly, you can also use spring-loading with stacks to view their content and move your files there. For this, simply click-drag your files and hover over the stack where you want to move them. Once spring-loading opens the stack, release the mouse to drop your files to that stack.

Lastly, if you prefer using some other ways of moving files on Mac, like the ones we’ve mentioned in our other post, you can take advantage of spring-loaded folders in those methods, too, and traverse folders and drag and drop items efficiently.

During the entire process, if at some point you mistakenly open a wrong folder (or decide mid-way that you don’t want to drop your files in the active folder), you can cancel the action by moving your mouse pointer to the source folder.

Our Spin
TIP: While hovering over a folder or stack, press the Space key to reduce the spring-loading time and get into them instantly.

Spring-loading Folders to Move Files on Mac Easily

No matter what method you use to move files on Mac, the process will always be tedious and time-consuming.

However, if you take advantage of the spring-loaded folders feature, you can significantly reduce the time and effort that goes into the process and move files between folders efficiently.

FAQs About Spring-loaded Folders

1. Spring-loaded folders not working, what to do?

If your Mac stops responding to spring-loading, you can attempt to fix it by toggling spring-loaded features off and on. To do this, head over to System Preferences > Accessibility. Here, select Mouse & Trackpad from the left-hand pane and untick the checkbox next to Spring-loading delay on the right window to turn it off. To enable it, check off this checkbox.

2. What does spring loading delay mean on Mac?

Spring-loading delay is essentially the amount of time that a folder takes to spring (or open) up after you hover over it with the files you want to move. You can change the spring-loading delay using the Spring-loading delay slider in the spring-loaded folders settings, as we’ve mentioned earlier.

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