Changing where files you download in Safari go on your Mac

Safari Download In Progress

Chances are, you download a lot of files on your Mac from day to day. Whether they’re apps, work files, school files, photos, or something else you want to have on your computer, all those downloads have to go somewhere.

On the Mac, the default folder for downloads in Safari is the Downloads folder. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to change that so your downloaded files go somewhere else on your Mac.

Why to change the download folder

I’m personally a fan of downloading files to the Desktop. It’s super easy to get to the Desktop no matter what you’re doing on your Mac. You can just hide all the windows, and then the file you downloaded is just right there and is easy to move or dispose of when you’re done with it.

On the other hand, others may select a different download folder based on the web browser they download from (yes, some people have more than one web browser for different purposes, like myself for work-based activities and home-based activities).

No matter what the reasoning might be, sometimes having a different download location for files downloaded via Safari is a good idea.

How to do it

If you’re looking for a way to change the location on your Mac where files downloaded from Safari will go, then you’ve come to the right place.

To do it, follow these steps:

1) Launch Safari on your Mac.

2) From the Menu Bar, navigate to Safari > Preferences to open the Safari preferences window.

Safari Mac Preferences

3) Next, make sure you open the General tab in the preferences window, and where it says File Download Location, click on the selection box to reveal a menu.

Safari Downloads Location Other

4) Select Other from the drop-down menu.

5) You will now be presented with a list of folders on your Mac to pick from. Choose the one where you want your downloaded files to go, then click on the Select button. We will select the Desktop for this example.

Safari New Download Locaton Selected

6) After making the changes, verify that they’ve taken effect. You can see that our Safari preferences pane now shows the Desktop as the file download location:

Safari Changed Download Location Mac

And that’s all there is to it!

Now all of the files we download in Safari on our Mac are going to be saved to the Desktop, rather than to the default location: the Downloads folder.

You can select any other folder you want on your Mac, and it doesn’t have to be a system folder. You can also make your own folder anywhere on your Mac and save it there instead.

Wrapping up

For the most part, I think this is a feature for more moderately advanced Mac users. I wouldn’t recommend this to someone who’s new to the Mac, because if you’re still getting used to the operating system, then you might have trouble finding your downloaded files because you’ll expect to find your files in the Downloads folder.

Never fret, if you download something and can’t seem to find it because you picked the wrong folder, you can always set the right folder later on. You can also use Spotlight to search for the file you downloaded, and your Mac should point you to the file you downloaded even if you’re having trouble finding it in Finder.

Also read:

Where do you like to have your downloads saved to? Share in the comments below!