How To Change Screenshot Save Location In Mac OS X – Steps & Guide

The shortcuts for taking screenshots always work seamlessly on macOS-powered devices. Users can press Shift-Command-3 to quickly capture the entire screen or Shift-Command-4 to capture only a specific part. Even with the latest macOS Big Sur, all the screenshots are saved on the desktop by default. If you are capturing hundreds of screenshots on your mac, indeed, the desktop is not the place to keep all of them.

However, some of you still don’t know that it is possible to change the save location for macOS screenshots. There are actually a few different ways for changing the location to save the screenshots and screen recordings. Refer to the below-mentioned steps to change the location for saving the screenshots or even screen recordings in macOS Big Sur.

How to change the default save location of the screenshots in macOS?

  • Use the shortcut Shift-Command-5 or open the “Screenshot” app through Launchpad or Finder to get the onscreen capture tool.

  • Now, click on options to see all the available options.

  • While desktop is checked by default in the “save to” section, click on “other locations” and select the suitable location for you.

  • You can create a “Screenshot” folder on the desktop and select it for easy access. If the selected folder is deleted by any chance, the screenshot will be saved again on the desktop.

The above steps only work on the newer macs powered by macOS Big Sur (11), macOS Catalina (10.15), and macOS Mojave (10.14). All the older macs running on macOS High Sierra (10.13), macOS Sierra (10.12), or earlier have to use Terminal for changing the screenshot save location.

How to change the default save location of the screenshots using Terminal in macOS?

  • Open Finder and navigate to your desired location.
  • Now, create a new folder (likely named screenshots) using the shortcut Shift-Command-N.
  • Launch the Terminal app using the launchpad or Finder.
  • Copy and paste the following code: defaults write com.apple.screencapture location (don’t hit enter yet)
  • Now drag the newly created folder in the second step into the Terminal app.
  • Hit the enter key to save all the future screenshots in the newly created folder.

Note: For some users, the “Rep argument is not a dictionary, Defaults have not been changed” error is displayed when the above code is pasted in the Terminal app.

To overcome the error:

  • Drag the newly created folder into the Terminal app before pasting the code.
  • Move the terminal cursor to the beginning of the line by holding the left key.
  • Paste the code from the fourth step and hit enter.

By default, macOS also shows a small preview of the newly captured thumbnail, which Apple calls a floating thumbnail, on the bottom right corner for about five seconds. Users can right-click on the floating thumbnail to change the save location just for that screenshot.

Unlike the onscreen capture tool, the floating thumbnail has limited options. From the floating thumbnail option, users can save the captured screenshot only in desktop, documents, or clipboard. Note that this doesn’t affect the screenshots which will be captured in the future.

Tip: Swipe right on the floating thumbnail to make it disappear instantly.

How to enable/disable the floating thumbnail (screenshot preview) in macOS?

  • Use the shortcut Shift-Command-5 or open the “Screenshot” app through launchpad or Finder to get the onscreen capture tool.
  • Now, click on options to see all the available options.
  • The “Show Floating Thumbnail” can be checked in the options to show the preview of the newly captured thumbnail for about five seconds on the bottom right corner of the screen.

  • If you hate to wait for five seconds, simply uncheck the “Show Floating Thumbnail.”

After all, I hope you were able to change the default save location for storing screenshots and screen recording from the desktop to your desired folder. If you find any issues while going through the process mentioned above, let me know through the comments section.

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