Taking a screenshot on a Mac is effortless. Simply hold down Command-Shift-3 to capture the entire screen, or Command-Shift-4 to capture a highlighted area. You can even hold down Command-Shift-4 and then hit the space bar to screenshot a specific window or menu.

The only annoying part is that screenshots are saved to the desktop by default, which creates a cluttered mess if you take a lot of screenshots. The good news is that there is an easy solution for changing the location where screenshots are saved.

Read ahead for step-by-step instructions on how to change the default screenshot location on Mac… 

How to change where screenshots are saved on Mac

Step 1: Search for Terminal in Spotlight Search in the top-right menu bar.

Step 2: Open Terminal and type the following command:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Documents/Screenshots

change screenshot to Documents

Step 3: To apply the changes, enter the following command:

killall SystemUIServer


That’s it. If you entered the commands successfully, your screenshots will now save to a Screenshots folder within your Documents. Make sure to actually create the folder before applying the changes through Terminal though.

Note that you can type any directory that you wish to save screenshots to, as it doesn’t have to be ~/Documents/Screenshots if you would prefer something else. For example it could be Documents, or Downloads.

To revert back to saving screenshots to your desktop, you can enter the following command:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Desktop

followed by:

killall SystemUIServer

If you have any question about how to change where screenshots are saved on your Mac running macOS, feel free to ask.

  • Rodrigo Rojas

    How can I save the screenshots directly to the PHOTOS app in Mac OSX so I can access them directly in my iPad Pro for example? That will be very useful.

  • Rodrigo Rojas

    How to saves screenshots directly in PHOTOS apps in other to edit them on my iPad Pro?

  • Luca

    Commands for changing screenshots dir and format don’t work anymore on MacOS high sierra… any ideas?

    • Jason Frost

      Just ran the command for changing the screenshots directory on High Sierra, it works fine.

      • Luca

        For real my problem is that screenshots works only if I save them in the clipboard. File aren’t created anymore, even if I change dir. Can’t solve in any way. Any ideas?

      • Jason Frost

        You’ve probably set the directory incorrectly. Follow the instructions for changing it back to the desktop.

      • Luca

        Already tried.

  • Ridwan Aris

    thx man awesome

  • Chris Carroll

    I have updated my mac and now my files are on iCloud drive. What path would I use now to change where the screenshots are saved?

  • Veronica Kecki

    Thank you so very much!!

  • Matt Boudreaux

    Ive tried this several times to get my screenshots to save to my Downloads using this command:
    defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Downloads/Screenshots
    but its still saving them to my desktop. Any suggestions?