Is there a way to prevent files being downloaded into the Downloads folder on a Mac such as when I open a PDF file from the browser instead of downloading it?

To explain what I mean, on Windows when you click 'Open' when the browser asks what to do with a file, the file gets downloaded to a temp folder.

On Mac it gets downloaded to the Downloads folder, in effect creating two copies if I choose to save the file later to a different folder. Since you can't move files on the Mac, the end result is a very cluttered Downloads folder and no way of knowing if a certain file is saved elsewhere?

Is there a way to change this behaviour, say not to have the file downloaded or to have it automatically deleted?

  • 2
    We seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding here... what makes you think you can't move a file? Also, you realise you don't actually have to 'Open' an online pdf to read it, you can read it right there in the browser [with it being downloaded to a temporary area & deleted later as the cache expires]
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 4 '16 at 14:06
  • @Tetsujin To move a file in mac, i have to copy it to the new location and then delete it from the original location, correct me if I am wrong. To me this is rather inefficient. I could read on the browser, but since I work on a small screen and because sometimes equations don't render correctly in a browser, I like to read on a real pdf program. And partly it is just an old habit.
    – Arun
    Nov 4 '16 at 14:32
  • 1
    @Arun You could drag and drop it in the new location, or Cmd+C to copy, then Cmd+Option+V to move it to the new location instead of making a new copy of the file.
    – Lizzan
    Nov 4 '16 at 14:56
  • 3
    If you move a file on the same partition it simply moves to the new location. If you move it to another partition it will copy [same as any OS would]. If you hold Cmd whilst dragging, it will move instead. ...If you want to move using only key commands, then you Cmd/C to copy [Cmd/V of course to Paste] or Cmd/Opt/V to Move.
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 4 '16 at 15:06

Just right click the link.

enter image description here

If you have a pdf viewer plugin enabled (which it sounds like you do), you have the option to *Open Link in..." it or Save Link As...

When you choose Save Link As... you even have the opportunity to change your download location.

enter image description here

The way that I am doing is through Full Acrobat Reader, not through a 3rd party plugin or Preview. In fact, PDF plugin is disabled:

enter image description here

When I click on the PDF link, it opens in a new browser Tab for viewing, but now I have the opportunity to select "Download" if I want to save it (It's not saved to my Downloads folder automatically.)

enter image description here

  • I know this, I want a way to view the document in a pdf viewer before saving it.
    – Arun
    Nov 4 '16 at 17:35
  • What browser are you using?
    – Allan
    Nov 4 '16 at 17:42
  • Firefox. Maybe I should just use the inbuilt viewer instead of the system viewer. I just prefer to read pdfs on a larger window.
    – Arun
    Nov 4 '16 at 17:44
  • I updated my answer. Preview is great for graphics, but PDFs - I swear by the genuine Adobe Acrobat client.
    – Allan
    Nov 4 '16 at 17:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .