How to change where the downloaded Safari items are saved in iOS 13

The enhanced Safari browser in iOS 13 packs in many improvements and new features, such as a Mac-like download manager. With it, iPhone and iPad owners are finally able to download all sorts of files from the Internet, like PDFs or ZIPs, and have them stored in a custom folder.

Even though Safari for Mac has had its own download manager for many years now, it wasn’t until iOS 13 that the feature became available on iOS devices after being unveiled during the June 3 keynote at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2019.

TUTORIAL: Changing where Safari for Mac saves downloaded items

The Safari download manager is especially powerful paired with iOS 13’s vastly improved Files app which now lets you use your iPhone or iPad as a local disk for keeping your frequently-used downloads close at hand (you can even use your iOS device as a portable drive).

By default, Safari stores all your downloaded items in the Downloads folder on iCloud, making them available across any iPhone, iPad, Mac or Windows device signed in to the same iCloud account. Many people will want to point the save path to a local folder on their iOS device in order to avoid uploading of saved items to iCloud to save their bandwidth and battery.

Follow along with iDB as we show you how.

Changing where iOS 13 Safari saves downloads

Follow the steps-by-step instructions included right ahead to learn how to change where the files you download in Safari go.

1) Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad with iOS 13.

2) Choose Safari from the root list.

3) Tap Downloads underneath the General heading.

4) Choose a new location where you’d like your downloaded items to go.

Setting Safari’s save path to the Downloads folder on iCloud (left) or this device (center). You can choose a custom path as well (right).

You have these basic options at your disposal:

  • iCloud Drive: This is the default location. Safari will automatically upload and store your items in the Downloads folder on iCloud. Any changes made to this folder on one device, like removing or renaming a download, will automatically sync across all your iCloud device. On the flip side, uploading to iCloud uses your bandwidth, CPU and battery so don’t use iCloud for that if you only need to access your downloads locally.
  • On My iPhone: Downloaded items are stored locally in the device’s Downloads folder. This is the preferred choice for anyone who doesn’t need to access their downloads across all devices.
  • Other: Select this to pick a custom save path for the Safari downloads. Aside from any iCloud or locally created folder, you’re free to choose any custom location recognized by Files, be it an external drive, an SMB server or a supported cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive.
Any Files-compatible source will do, including Dropbox.

If you have Files-compatible cloud storage apps installed on this device, like Dropbox or Google Drove, you will also see them listed there with the default /Downloads save path.

Everything new in Safari on iOS 13

Here’s everything new or enhanced in Safari on iOS 13.

  • Updated start page: An updated start page design includes favorites, frequently visited and most recently visited websites so you can quickly get to the site you want. Siri suggestions surface relevant websites in your browsing history, frequently visited sites, links sent to you in Messages and more.
  • Download Manager: Check the status of a file you’re downloading, access downloaded files quickly and drag and drop them into a file or email you’re working on. You can even download files in the background while you get work done.
  • Photo upload resize: Choose to resize your photo to small, medium, large or actual size before you upload it.
  • Website View menu: The new View menu in the Smart Search field gives you quick access to text size controls, Reader view and per‑site settings.
  • Per‑site settings: Choose to enable camera, microphone and location access depending on the website you’re visiting. You can also decide whether to view a website in its desktop or mobile version, use Reader view and enable content blockers on a per‑site basis.
  • Page zoom: Quickly zoom in and out on a website’s text.
  • Save open tabs as bookmarks: Save a set of open tabs to Bookmarks so you can quickly reopen them later.
  • Jump to open tab from Smart Search field: If you start to type the address of a website that’s already open, Safari directs you to the open tab.
  • Expanded email sharing options: New options let you email a web page as a link, as a PDF or in Reader view from the share sheet.
  • Weak password warnings: If you try to use a weak password when signing up for a new website account, Safari warns you.
  • iCloud end‑to‑end encryption: Your Safari history and open tabs that have synced with iCloud are now protected with end‑to‑end encryption.
  • Desktop websites (iPad): Safari automatically presents a website’s desktop version on iPad. Touch input maps correctly when a website expects mouse or trackpad input. Website scaling takes advantage of the large iPad screen so you’ll see websites at their optimal size. And scrolling within web pages is faster and more fluid.
  • Keyboard shortcuts (iPad): Navigate the web faster with 30+ new shortcuts when you use an external keyboard.
  • Full toolbar in Split View (iPad): Access the full Safari toolbar in Split View.

All of these features are available on both iPhone and iPad, unless stated otherwise.

iOS 13 compatibility

iOS 13 is compatible with the following Apple smartphone models:

  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPod touch (7th generation)

For more information, read Apple’s press release or visit

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iPadOS compatibility

iPadOS is compatible with these iPads:

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro
  • 11-inch iPad Pro
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2

Watch our video overview of the new iPad-only updates embedded below.

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For more, read Apple’s press release or visit

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