Change Download Location on Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing the download location on your Mac is a straightforward process that can help keep your files organized and easily accessible. By default, your Mac saves all downloaded files to the Downloads folder, but you can change this to any location that works better for you. Let’s dive into how you can adjust your Mac’s settings to save your downloads wherever you’d like.

Step by Step Tutorial: Change Download Location on Mac

Before we start, let’s understand what we’re about to do. By changing the download location on your Mac, you’re telling your computer to save all future downloads to a new, specified folder. This can help keep your desktop or current download folder from getting cluttered.

Step 1: Open Safari Preferences

Open Safari, click on ‘Safari’ in the top-left corner of the screen, and select ‘Preferences’ from the drop-down menu.

Safari is the default web browser for Mac, and it’s where you’ll find the option to change your download location. If you’re using a different browser like Chrome or Firefox, the steps will be similar but you’ll need to open the settings or preferences for that specific browser.

Step 2: Click on the ‘General’ Tab

In the Preferences window, click on the ‘General’ tab to access the download options.

The General tab contains various settings that affect how Safari operates, including what happens when you download files.

Step 3: Find the ‘File Download Location’ Option

Look for the section labeled ‘File download location’ – this is where you can choose where your downloads will go.

By default, it will be set to ‘Downloads,’ which is the Downloads folder in your user account. You can click on the dropdown menu to change it.

Step 4: Select ‘Other’ to Choose a New Location

Click on the dropdown menu and select ‘Other’ to open a Finder window where you can select your new download location.

You may want to create a new folder specifically for downloads or choose an existing one that makes sense for your workflow.

Step 5: Choose Your New Download Location and Save

Navigate to the folder where you want your downloads to go, select it, and click ‘Select’ to set it as your new download location.

Remember that all future downloads will go to this new location, so choose a folder that you can easily access and that makes sense for the types of files you’re downloading.

After you’ve completed these steps, your Mac will now save all downloads to the new location you’ve chosen. This can help you stay organized and make it easier to find your files when you need them.

Tips for Changing Your Download Location on Mac

  • Make sure the new download location has enough storage space to accommodate your files.
  • Consider creating a specific ‘Downloads’ folder within a particular area of your computer, like ‘Documents,’ to keep things organized.
  • Remember that changing the download location in one browser doesn’t change it for other browsers you might use.
  • If you’re using macOS Mojave or later, you can use the ‘Stacks’ feature on your desktop to automatically organize files, including downloads.
  • Keep in mind that some applications might have their own download settings, so you may need to change the location within those apps as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will changing the download location affect files I’ve already downloaded?

No, changing your download location will only affect future downloads. Files you’ve already downloaded will remain in their original location.

Can I change the download location to an external drive?

Yes, you can set your download location to an external drive; just make sure it’s connected to your Mac when you’re downloading files.

Will changing the download location on my Mac affect other user accounts?

No, changing the download location on your Mac will only affect your user account unless you have administrative rights and change settings for other users.

What should I do if I can’t find my downloaded files after changing the location?

If you can’t find your downloaded files, double-check the download location you set and ensure there are no typos or errors. You can also use the Spotlight search feature to locate your files.

Can I set different download locations for different files types?

No, macOS does not natively support setting different download locations for different file types. All files will download to the location you specify.


  1. Open Safari Preferences
  2. Click on the ‘General’ Tab
  3. Find the ‘File Download Location’ Option
  4. Select ‘Other’ to Choose a New Location
  5. Choose Your New Download Location and Save


There you have it! You now know how to change the download location on your Mac with just a few simple steps. By customizing where your files go after downloading, you can streamline your daily tasks, keep your space organized, and improve your overall productivity. Remember, this setting is specific to the browser you’re using, so make sure to adjust the settings for each browser if you use multiple ones.

Don’t let your downloads get lost in the abyss of your Mac’s folders. Take control and direct them exactly where you want them to go. If you’re still unsure about any steps or have further questions, don’t hesitate to look up more detailed guides or reach out to Apple Support for assistance. Happy downloading, and enjoy the newfound organization of your Mac’s files!