I’ve seen a lot of clogged-up Downloads folders. A lot. For me, at least, it’s much easier to keep my downloaded files cleaned up and organized if I throw them on my Desktop, so if you’re the same way, it’s good to know that you can change where Safari, Firefox, and Chrome automatically put their downloads. So for today’s article, let’s go over how to change the default download folder on the Mac!
Luckily, the process is pretty similar in the three main Mac browsers.
Change the Default Download Location in Safari
For Apple’s built-in Safari browser, first launch the app and then click on the “Safari” menu in the top-left corner of your screen. From the drop-down list, choose Preferences.
After the Preferences window opens, make sure you’ve got the “General” tab selected, and then you can change the “File download location” toggle.
As you can see, I’ve got mine set to “Desktop,” but you can pick an alternate location with that “Other” choice. Clicking “Other” will bring you to the familiar macOS open/save dialog box, from which you can select any folder you want to use.
If you’re feeling really fancy, you could instead change that toggle shown in my second screenshot above to “Ask for each download,” which will mean that you can file away everything you download exactly where you want it to go, every time. Nifty!
Change the Default Download Location in Firefox
With Firefox, you’ll start the same way as Safari. That is, first launch the app and then click on its named menu in the upper left and choose “Preferences.”
Under the “General” tab, the option for this is front and center—it’s labeled “Save files to.”
That “Choose” button on the right will let you switch your download location to a different folder, or again, the “Always ask me where to save files” radio button you see above will make Firefox ask you each time.
Change the Default Download Location in Chrome
Google made it just a teeny bit harder to change your default downloads folder in Chrome, but the steps begin the same way. First launch Chrome and then click on the “Chrome” menu at the top of your screen and select “Preferences.”
Scroll down on the “Settings” tab until you see “Show advanced settings,” and then click that.
When those advanced settings appear, you’ll need to scroll a bit more to get to the “Download location” option. You can use the “Change” button there to switch yours from whatever it’s set to, or as with Safari and Firefox, there’s a choice to make the browser ask you where to put the file you’re downloading every time.
Oh, and one more tiny hint! Mail also uses the Downloads folder to store attachments you save, so if you’d like to be really thorough, you could change that, too. The option is within Mail > Preferences, under the “General” tab:
So now that you’ve got all of your browsers (and Mail!) set to do exactly what you need them to, you can go forward knowing that your Downloads folder will never get clogged up again. Can we make a pact to keep our Desktops clean next? Pretty please?
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