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The Mail app is configured to send the downloaded attachments to my downloads folder, yet it keeps burying my downloaded attachments in my library. I've tried resetting the download location in the app settings several times but can't get it to save to the correct location.

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to be clear - I've configured mail to download attachments to the downloads folder, yet when I double tap on items they get put in my library under mail downloads. is that not what this configuration setting is for? – Tony Ashworth Feb 9 '12 at 20:58

What I did is quit Mail and make a shortcut of the Mail Downloads in Library to where I want it in the Downloads folder, from there I can just delete what I don't want and maintain the folder to my liking.

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Thank you, This answers my need perfectly. – Tony Ashworth Feb 14 '12 at 16:07
One step easier is actually just to make an Automater Folder Action to move Mail Download files to the Downloads folder ;) But I wouldn't have thought of that without your suggestion so kudos to you. – Tony Ashworth Feb 14 '12 at 16:29
One more solution without Automator, make a shortcut of the your Downloads folder and rename it to Mail Downloads and move it into the Library folder replacing the original one. – ismail Feb 15 '12 at 2:56
I actually tried to do exactly that (shortcut? you mean alias?) and it didn't work at all. The mail app then just made some weird Mail Downloads Temp folders. I actually couldn't get it to work at all this way. I like the idea so give you an upvote for that anyways. – Tony Ashworth Feb 15 '12 at 14:02
up vote 1 down vote accepted

thanks to @ismail for the suggestion that lead me to my final answer. So at the suggestion of Timothy the best answer I could come to is to create an Automater Folder Action that will move files from the Mail Downloads folder to the User Downloads Folder.

To do so:

  1. Create a Folder Action
  2. Add an action for "Get Specified Finder Items action" and target the Mail Downloads folder
  3. Add an action of "Get Folder Contents" (with repeat for each subfolder checked)
  4. Add the "Move Finder Items" action and specify the downloads folder.
  5. Save the Finder Action with a relevant name (I named mine Mail Download Mover)
  6. Now go find the Mail Downloads folder in your User Library folder.
  7. Right click the Mail Downloads folder and select "Set Folder Action"

This will move all your "downloaded" mail attachments directly to the download folder (usually it takes a second or 2 for the automater to kick in)

I tested this using a zip file I emailed myself. After double clicking the zip file it went to the mail downloads folder and unzipped there. Then both items were moved to my downloads folder.

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Mail assumes you don't want to automatically download every attachment that's sent to you. That makes sense, as otherwise you'd end up with lots of emoticons and company banners in your downloads folder. To save one to Downloads, right-click (or ctrl-click) the attachment you want to download and select "Save to Downloads folder" or "Save attachment…". This will do what you want.

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i understand that, but i guess i assumed that double tapping on an attachment (aka downloading it) would put it in the configured location. it's just not intuitive to double click on a zip file attachment and then just have it disappear and have to hunt around for it's location. – Tony Ashworth Feb 10 '12 at 13:08
Yes, I didn't say I agreed with the decision. I'm merely reporting the facts. – timothymh Feb 10 '12 at 21:37
I apparently can't upvote your answer despite my desire to do so. You are correct and thank you for being clear. – Tony Ashworth Feb 14 '12 at 16:07
You're very welcome! Always happy to help. :) I would recommend your own answer, actually, to create an Automator folder action. Good idea! – timothymh Feb 14 '12 at 19:59

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