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How to Change the Safari Download Location on Mac OS

By default, the Safari web browser for Mac will download any files to the Downloads folder of the active user account. Most Mac users will likely be satisfied with that, but some may wish to change the file download directory in Safari for Mac OS to another directory. Likewise, if you have changed the Safari download destination, you may wish to revert back to the default download folder for Safari on the Mac.

This tutorial will show you how to change the Safari downloads location in Mac OS. You can change it to any directory or folder you have access to, or you can revert back to the default Safari downloads destination of the user Downloads directory.

Making this adjustment will change where all downloaded files from the Safari web browser go to on the Mac. It will not impact other applications and where they download files.

How to Change the File Download Location in Safari on Mac

  1. Open the “Safari” web browser on the Mac if you have not done so already
  2.  Pull down the “Safari” menu and choose “Preferences”

3.  Go to the “General” tab and then look for the “File Download Location” section and click on the Downloads dropdown menu.

4. Choose “Other” to change the downloads destination in Safari.

5.  Navigate to the directory you want Safari to download files to and choose “Select”

6.  Exit out of Safari Preferences when finished.

Now all future downloaded files or items from Safari will go to the folder or directory you selected.  for example, if you selected the Desktop, then all Safari downloaded files will appear on the desktop of the Mac.

Changing the download destination for Safari only applies to downloads and files going forward, any flies downloads before this change was made would appear in the location set prior to any adjustment.  If you aren’t sure where a particular file downloaded form Salari is located, you can search on the Mac with Spotlight for the file name, click the magnifying glass button in the Safari Downloaded Items List or manually ivenstigate the user Downloads folder or whatever you had/have selected as the Safari download location.

How to Change Back to the Default Download Location in Safari on Mac OS

If you had prviously customized the location of the Download directory away from the default (downloads) and to another directory, you can change it back as follows.

From the Safari browser, go to the “Safari” menu and choose “Preferences”

    1. From the Safari browser, go to the “Safari” menu and choose “Preferences”
    2. From the “General” tab look for the “File Download Location” section, and then click on the Downloads dropdown menu and choose “Downloads”
      • If “Downloads” is not in the dropdown menu, choose “Other” and navigate to your user Home folder then select the “Downloads” from from there
      • Exit out of Safari Preferences when finished

    That’s it, now the Safari downloaded file destination directory will be reset to default ~/Downloads folder on the Mac.

    Most users are better off keeping all downloads in the Downloads folder of Mac OS for consistency sake, because it makes keeping track of downloaded files particularly easy if all apps are downloading all files into the same location. By default, most Mac apps that are able to download files will use the user Downloads folder as the destination for those files, including Safari, Chrome, Firefox, most SFTP apps, and even file transfer features like AirDrop saves files to the Downloads folder by default on MacOS.

    Of course this applies to Safari, which also happens to be the default web browser on a Mac, but if you use a different web browser then changing the default download location would be different.

    And in case you were wondering, yes this guide applies to both regular Safari, Safari Beta, as well as the Safari Technology Preview builds. The download settings will be similar but slightly different if you happen to be running Safari on Windows PC but since that Windows-specific software build is no longer actively developed it’s usage is debatable.

  1. Horowitz, Paul. “How to Change the Safari Download Location on Mac OS” OSX Daily July 1, 2018

Posted in: Mac OS, Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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