2

MacOS notoriously deletes whole duplicate folders when you are moving folders. That is, if you have a file structure:

Folder1
└── Photos
    ├── Bright\ Selfie.jpg
    ├── Indiana\ Dunes\ at\ Sunset.JPG
    └── Me\ &\ Mom\ (2).jpg
Folder2
└── Photos
    ├── 8-9-1942.jpg
    ├── 8-9-1942.psd
    └── 8334455046_81356161e5_b.jpg

And we drag Folder2/Photos into Folder1, you'll get a window that says:

"Okay if I delete all of your files? And if you select Replace thinking, "Surely, it will sensibly merge my two folders," it will happily delete ALL of the files in Folder1/Photos. Interestingly, Cmd-Z doesn't updo the action either.

Folder1
└── Photos
    ├── 8-9-1942.jpg
    ├── 8-9-1942.psd
    └── 8334455046_81356161e5_b.jpg
Folder2

However, if you hold down Option/Alt while you drag-and-drop, you'll get a different alert:

Okay, if you insist I'll do the sensible thing. And when you Merge, Finder only makes copies of your files, not moves them (which is the usual use of Opt-Drag-Drop):

Folder1
└── Photos
    ├── 8-9-1942.jpg
    ├── 8-9-1942.psd
    ├── 8334455046_81356161e5_b.jpg
    ├── Bright\ Selfie.jpg
    ├── Indiana\ Dunes\ at\ Sunset.JPG
    └── Me\ &\ Mom\ (2).jpg
Folder2
└── Photos
    ├── 8-9-1942.jpg
    ├── 8-9-1942.psd
    └── 8334455046_81356161e5_b.jpg

And if any of the files within these folders share a name, fogitaboutit. Finder simple "can't" merge these folders.

So two questions:

  1. How do I actually move folders, merging any duplicate folders in Finder?
  2. How do I make this the default behavior for Finder?

And yes, I know that there are options to cp, mv, ditto, and tar that do this sensibly on the command line.

  • Umm. Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but are you asking how to move files (not copy but actually move), If so, hold down the command key and drag to move the files. The option key makes a copy of the file. – JBis Apr 23 '18 at 2:18
  • Okay, that's useful, but does it merge? I don't think so. – Wes Modes Apr 28 '18 at 0:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .