How to change default downloads folder on Safari browser

How to change and/or restore default download folder on Safari web browser

Most websites offer a direct download function without additional software. Safari facilitate this process - by default, all files downloaded through this application reach the 'Downloads' folder. Therefore, this folder can quickly become crowded with files, thus making it difficult to find earlier downloads. Fortunately, you can change the destination folder on Safari and others browsers. People use various applications for different purposes, including web browsers. So, reassigning the download folder for browsers and applications can help computer file organisation for work-based activities, leisure, etc. Bookmarks, history, and saved passwords can also save time finding important files within numerous photos, application data, and other information.

Some people choose to save their downloads on the desktop, and this is useful for quick, easy access to files. If you have downloaded files just on a temporary basis, you can easily eliminate them from the Mac. A less popular (but still useful) option is to choose the destination folder each time you download data. This allows you to effectively organise downloaded into different categories. There might also be a number of other reasons you may wish to change the destination of your Safari downloads. In this article, we describe how to change the default downloads folder and also to revert changes to these settings.


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Change downloads destination folder on Safari

Changing the destination folder on the Safari web browser is quite simple. There are a number of different ways to save your download: to the default Downloads folder, a chosen folder, or choose a destination folder each time you download any file. Launch Safari, click Safari in the menu bar at the top of the screen, and then select Preferences. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut of Command and Comma (,) to access the Safari's preferences.


Choose the General tab and look for the File Download location option. Click the drop-down menu next to it. You will see the assigned Downloads folder and two additional options. The 'Ask for each download' option will prompt you each time to choose the destination folder for each file - this is useful if you prefer to keep all downloads in separate categories. The 'Other..' option allows you to assign any folder on the Mac storage as your destination for downloads.


When you click this option, a new window will pop-up. Navigate to your desired folder (for example, 'Desktop') from the left hand side bar and then click Select. All downloads will now be saved to the Mac desktop.


You do not need to look for 'Save' or any similar button - simply close Preferences and Safari will automatically save the changes. Bear in mind, however, that these Preference updates will not affect your previous downloads, which will remain in the default Downloads folder. To save time searching for a particular file, click the arrow down button at the top right corner of Safari's window to expand the recent downloads list, and then click the magnifying glass button. In this way, the Mac will automatically open the downloads folder and locate the required file.

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Restore default downloads folder on Safari

If you (or other people who use your Mac) have changed the destination folder, you could miss some recently-downloaded files. Fortunately, switching back to the default folder is simple. First, launch the Safari browser, click on Safari in the menu bar at top of the window, and then choose Preferences. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut of Command and Comma (,) to access Safari's preferences. In the new window, select the General tab and look for the File Download Location section. Click the drop-down menu next to it and select Downloads from the list.


If you are unable to find this option, click 'Other...' In the new pop-up window go to the user Home folder, select Downloads, and then click Select.


Close Safari Preferences, which will automatically save your changes. From this point, all future downloads will be stored in the default Downloads folder. This will not impact your previous downloads and these files will remain in same location to which they were originally saved. Note that the default Downloads folder is used as the destination folder not only by Safari, but also by most software able to download files to the Mac, including Chrome, Firefox, most SFTP apps, and file transfer features such as AirDrop or Migration Assistant.

Video showing how to change the default downloads folder on Safari

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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