I have just upgraded to High Sierra from Sierra, and immediately I noticed that screenshots would take a good 10-15 seconds before appearing on the desktop. How can I fix this?

  • If you go to the Desktop folder in finder and take a screenshot, does it appear there any faster?
    – Joonas
    Oct 2, 2017 at 21:33
  • @Joonas Only slightly.
    – tyteen4a03
    Oct 3, 2017 at 10:12
  • If you leave the Mac running without sleep for a few days, all the sync to iCloud should clear up. Any chance there is still initial processing happening?
    – bmike
    Oct 6, 2017 at 2:59
  • @bmike I don't have Photos sync turned on for iCloud, never did.
    – tyteen4a03
    Oct 18, 2017 at 21:24
  • But your desktop could sync to iCloud even if you don’t opt in for iCloud. If you never sign in, that’s not the answer.
    – bmike
    Oct 18, 2017 at 21:40

3 Answers 3


I have the same problem here. It seems to be a refresh problem. The file is actually there, it just doesn't show up. If I open a Finder window in the desktop folder the same problem happens. But I can verify it's a refresh problem because if I go to other folder and come back the file is already there. I have an iMac with a Fusion Drive. High Sierra doesn't convert it to the new APFS file system. I'm guessing it has something to do with that. My guess is that High Sierra is prepared for APFS and that APFS treats file refreshing differently from the earlier MacOS file system. So whatever signal it's expecting from the file system, it is not receiving.

  • I'm using a MacBook Pro Retina and is on the APFS system.
    – tyteen4a03
    Oct 3, 2017 at 10:12
  • I agree that the problem is actually Finder polling to display the new file, not an issue of it not being created. The file actually appears almost instantly when using ls, but takes several seconds to show up in the Finder UI. Jul 6, 2018 at 20:06

I've had this trouble as well. From what I can tell, it's a problem with how iCloud desktop works in High Sierra. Screenshots saved quickly to iCloud desktops in Sierra, but in High Sierra there's a lag when saving to any folder controlled by iCloud. Changing the file type when saving a screen capture from Grab made no difference, but saving to a non-iCloud folder worked instantly.

  • Interesting. I’ve always seen the save fast to the filesystem, then later the sync up happens. If you open activity monitor, is significant CPU engaged in sync before you save any screen shot - processing a backlog while the Mac is idle?
    – bmike
    Oct 6, 2017 at 2:58
  • i have the same problem however it was happening before i downloaded the new high sierra 10.13.1 whenever i take screenshots they take about 10 seconds to appear to my desktop (where i save my screenshots). the problem will still happen if i save to another "non-icloud" folder. also if i download a PDF from the internet and save it to my desktop, it will also take time to appear. this will happen when i download to another non-icluod folder as well.
    – Zach
    Nov 18, 2017 at 4:04
  • I've never had the iCloud Desktop syncing enabled and I still have this problem. I don't think it's related to iCloud syncing. When I go into my iCloud Preferences, then choose iCloud Drive, then click Options... it shows that I do NOT have Desktop & Documents enabled. Dec 12, 2017 at 22:07

I think somehow your screenshot location got changed to revert it back to the desktop typing defaults write com.apple.screencapture location Desktop

There’s also discussion on this issue that could be related to finder slow to refresh or alternate locations for screenshots.

The common thread is a third party sync or backup program like Google photos, box sync, Dropbox, etc...

  • 1
    The screenshots still appeared on the desktop (and even appeared in a Finder view before the actual desktop), it just took a long time.
    – tyteen4a03
    Oct 2, 2017 at 8:33
  • 1
    I'm not allowed to answer because this question is protected, but I took the information in the first comment of this answer apple.stackexchange.com/a/49546/123618 and then used it to create a link to my desktop in the toolbar press [cmd]+[alt] as you drag the folder to the Finder toolbar and that works for me.
    – paulguy
    Dec 18, 2017 at 17:08

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