Where are Screenshots Saved on Mac? Find and Change Location Guide

Taking a screenshot on a Mac is pretty straightforward, but where do those images end up? By default, they save to your desktop, but this can quickly become cluttered. Fortunately, changing the location of where your screenshots are saved is a simple process that can help keep your desktop tidy.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Find and Change the Location of Screenshots on Mac

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand that this tutorial will help you find where your screenshots are currently being saved and how to change that location to a folder of your choice.

Step 1: Find Where Screenshots are Currently Saved

By default, screenshots are saved to the desktop.

When you take a screenshot on a Mac using the default key combination (Command + Shift + 3 or Command + Shift + 4), the file automatically appears on your desktop. Look for a file that starts with ‘Screenshot’ followed by the date and time it was taken.

Step 2: Open Terminal

Terminal can be found in the Utilities folder within your Applications.

The Terminal application is where you’ll enter commands to change the screenshot save location. You can find Terminal by opening Finder, navigating to Applications, and then scrolling down to Utilities. Double-click on Terminal to open it.

Step 3: Type in the Command to Change the Location

Use the command defaults write com.apple.screencapture location followed by the new location path.

In Terminal, you’ll type in the command defaults write com.apple.screencapture location and then drag the folder where you want screenshots to be saved into the Terminal window. This action will automatically fill in the path to the folder. Press Enter to execute the command.

Step 4: Reset the System UI Server

The command killall SystemUIServer will apply the changes.

After changing the screenshot save location, you need to reset the System UI Server for the change to take effect. Simply type killall SystemUIServer in Terminal and press Enter. Your screenshots will now be saved to the new location.

After you’ve completed these steps, any new screenshots you take on your Mac will be saved to the specified folder instead of the desktop. This can help you keep your desktop free from clutter and make it easier to locate your screenshots when you need them.

Tips: Optimizing Your Screenshot Experience on Mac

  • Consider creating a dedicated folder for screenshots to keep them organized.
  • Use the Preview app to quickly edit or annotate screenshots before saving them.
  • Remember to clear out your screenshot folder regularly to save disk space.
  • Explore keyboard shortcuts for taking different types of screenshots, such as capturing a specific window or selection.
  • Look into third-party screenshot tools for more advanced features and customization options.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I take a screenshot on a Mac?

Press Command + Shift + 3 to capture the entire screen, or Command + Shift + 4 to select an area.

Where do screenshots go if not saved to the desktop?

If you’ve changed the save location, they’ll go to the folder you specified. If not, check your desktop or the Screenshots album in Photos.

Can I change the file format of a screenshot?

Yes, you can use Terminal to change the default format to JPEG, PDF, or other file types.

Why are my screenshots not appearing on the desktop?

If they’re not appearing, you may have changed the location without realizing it. Follow the steps above to find the current location.

Can I have screenshots automatically save to the cloud?

Yes, you can set your screenshot folder to sync with a cloud service like iCloud or Dropbox.


  1. Screenshots are saved to the desktop by default.
  2. Open Terminal from the Utilities folder.
  3. Enter the command to change the location.
  4. Reset the System UI Server with a command.


Taking screenshots on a Mac is a breeze, and now you know exactly where those files are going and how to redirect them. Whether you’re a power user looking to streamline your workflow or just someone who likes to keep their desktop neat and tidy, changing your screenshot save location is a handy trick. Remember, the Terminal is more than just a tool for tech-savvy individuals; it’s a gateway to customizing your Mac experience to fit your needs. So why not give it a try? After all, it’s your Mac, and you should have it set up exactly how you like it. Keep exploring, keep customizing, and keep those screenshots organized!

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