How to Change Where Screenshots Are Saved in OS X

Screenshots are easy to take in OS X. You can either use Command+Shift+3 or Command+Shift+4 to take full screen screenshots or crosshair screenshots, respectively. By default, these shots are saved to the desktop, but there’s an easy way to change that.

To do this, you just need to run a few commands in the Terminal. You can start the Terminal from Applications > Utilities, or use Spotlight to search for it.

Next, decide where you want your screenshots to go. We’re going to stick ours in the Downloads folder in a sub-folder logically called “Screenshots”.

Now, with our Terminal open, we’ll type the following command. Make sure there is a space after “location” and do not hit the “Enter” key yet:

defaults write location

In Terminal, it will look like this:

Now, instead of trying to figure out exactly where and how to type in the location of your new screenshot folder, simply drag that folder onto the Terminal window:

It will paste that folder’s location for you. In our example, the final command looks like this:

With that command queued up, go ahead and hit the “Enter” key.

Next, run the following command:

killall SystemUIServer

Hit Enter and your change will be officially implemented.

We see now that our screenshots are now saved to “Screenshots” in our “Downloads” folder on our Dropbox, which is convenient since we often switch between Mac and Windows machines when working.

If you want to ever revert back to the default location. Simply run this command:

defaults write location ~/Desktop

This will move the screenshots destination back to your Mac’s desktop. Re-run the killall command to finalize the changes:

killall SystemUIServer

Your screenshots again will now be saved to the desktop. You can always move it again wherever you like by using the procedure laid out in this article.

Matt Klein is an aspiring Florida beach bum, displaced honorary Texan, and dyed-in-wool Ohio State Buckeye, who fancies himself a nerd-of-all-trades. His favorite topics might include operating systems, BBQ, roller skating, and trying to figure out how to explain quantum computers.