macOS offers different ways to take screenshots on a Mac. Depending on what part of the screen you want to capture—and how you want to do it—you can either use the built-in screenshot utility or one of the dedicated third-party screenshot utilities to take screenshots on your Mac.

change where screenshots are saved on mac

Once you take a screenshot on a Mac, it’s saved to the Desktop with a file name that begins with “Screenshot” followed by the date and time of the capture. Although most people don’t mind screenshots being saved to the Desktop, if you do, you can change the save location for screenshots on your Mac based on your preference.

Here’s a guide with instructions to help you change where screenshots are saved on a Mac.

Method 1: Change Where Screenshots Are Saved on Mac Through the Screenshot Utility

One of the easiest ways to change the default location for saved screenshots on Mac is through the settings of its built-in Screenshot utility.

Follow these steps to do this:

  1. Press the Command + Shift + 5 keyboard shortcuts to bring up the built-in macOS Screenshot utility.
    mac screenshot tool options
  2. Click on the Options dropdown button.
  3. Select one of the listed locations under Save to set it as the new default save location for screenshots. If you want to use a location that isn’t listed, tap on Other Location, use the Finder to navigate to the location of the folder you want to set as the default, select it, and hit Choose. You can also tap on the New Folder in the Finder to create a new folder and set it as the default folder for saving your screenshots.
    changing location for saving screenshots
  4. Hit Esc to close.

Method 2: Change Where Screenshots Are Saved on Mac Using Terminal

Another way to change where screenshots are saved on your Mac is through the Terminal app. If you’re running an older version of macOS (anything before macOS Mojave), this is the only way to change the screenshot save location on your computer.

For this method, first, you need to know the path of the folder where you wish to save your screenshots. If this is an existing folder, open the Finder, right-click on the folder, and select Get Info. In the Info window, expand the General section by clicking on the arrow button next to it, right-click on the value for the Where property, and select Copy as Pathname to copy its path.

Alternatively, if you want to save screenshots to a new folder, create one using Finder and follow the same steps to copy its path to your clipboard.

After this, you can change the location of screenshots on your Mac like this:

  1. Launch Terminal.
  2. Enter the following line and press the Return key:
    defaults write location /location/you/copied
  3. Close all the apps and restart your Mac.

At any point, if you’d like to revert back to the default setting and save screenshots to your Desktop again, run this command in the Terminal and hit Return:

defaults write location ~/Desktop

Save Screenshots to Your Preferred Location on Your Mac

If you’ve recently purchased a new Mac and take a lot of screenshots, we recommend changing the default screenshot location on your Mac. Doing this not only helps you declutter your desktop but also allows you to keep your screenshots organized, which makes them accessible and easier to work with when required.

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