I want to change the path for a download folder that's created as a default download folder on my mac, but I don't know how to do that.

My goal is to have a different path for the default Downloads folder so that all apps can still access it but on a different path. Can this be done on a mac?

  • It's been my experience that the location to download files to is set at the application level, not the system level. If there is a global setting, for a stand alone user, I'm not aware of it. Typically one sets the download location in the Application's preferences, which by default is the Downloads folder in the User's Home folder.. – user3439894 Nov 2 '19 at 2:35
  • Did you try General tab on the Safari preferences? – David Anderson Nov 2 '19 at 2:42

Delete the old folder and symlink the new download path to the old download path. Make sure to copy everything in the old download directory to the new directory

# set newdir to the new directory
# This path can also be relative to the user path (~/relative/to/user/path)

# copy all files in old directory to new directory
find "~/Downloads" -type f -exec cp {} "$NEWDIR"/ \;

# delete folder and contents in the default path
rm -rf -v ~/Downloads/

# symlink new path to old path
ln -s "$NEWDIR"/ ~/Downloads
  • The find command, as currently written, only copies files not any folders that may, and often do, exist in ~/Downloads, so one looses any hierarchical folder structure that may exist. It also has the potential to overwrite files without warning by not copying directories as well, if they exist. By default one cannot delete the ~/Downloads directory as its Access Control Lists is set to group:everyone deny delete, so this script fails when run in at least the last few releases of macOS! – user3439894 Jan 18 at 12:40

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