I very often take screen shots, and have my system configured to save them directly to the desktop, without the intermediate processes.

This question has been asked a lot. For example, see the following:

Capturing screenshots on macOS Sierra is very slow Screenshot taking a very long time to appear on desktop

However, none of the situations and solutions discussed there are applicable.

  1. The questions above talk about 5-6 seconds to save. On my system it takes 15-20 seconds. This is a 2017 iMac; not a slow machine. The delay is very annoying as when one saves to the desktop one usually needs the resulting file immediately, so I have to wait for it to appear.

  2. A lot of the discussion talks about Google Backup and Sync. I have never used these.

  3. Some of the discussion talks about turning off anti-virus. As I test, I turned off Bitdefender. It made no difference.

Any other ideas?

EDIT: as soon as I saved this question, it occurred to me from the solutions based on disabling certain services, that maybe something like that was involved. On a hunch, I decided to disable Spotlight indexing of the Desktop folder, by adding it to the Privacy section. After all, I don't really need Spotlight for the relatively small number of objects I allow on my Desktop.

Interestingly, this worked! Screen shots now save in about 2 seconds.

Putting this as an "edit" rather than answering my own question, because this is a workaround, and there might be a better solution.


What worked for me on macOS Mojave to have screenshots saved to my Desktop instantaneously, was to uncheck Show Floating Thumbnail from the Options menu when pressing ⇧⌘5.

This change carried over to the other screenshot keyboard shortcuts too.

enter image description here

Note that I still allow Spotlight to index my Desktop too.

  • That suggestion is in the article I cited. But it is already unchecked for me and thus is not a factor for me, but clearly is a first thing to try since it has helped so many. For me the solution is to add the Desktop to Spotlight Privacy section. – Jeffrey Simon Aug 29 at 13:54
  • @Jeffrey Simon, I didn't read the article, only stated what worked for me. You should have mentioned your other settings in the OP! – user3439894 Aug 29 at 13:59

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