I was recently helping somebody move their Mac's information to Google Drive, and the best solution turned out to be using the Google Drive client for Mac. I moved the relevant files to their Google Drive volume in Finder, then created a few aliases from some folders inside Drive back to the Desktop.

We discovered a small issue when attempting to drag files into the folder aliases: Files will copy, as opposed to move to the destination. The person that I was helping is accustomed to the behavior of a real folder, where files move into a folder when they're dragged on top of it. I believe that this is because the alias refers to a folder on a (technically) removable volume, so the alias is treated the same way as a removable USB drive would be.

Is there a way to configure Finder so that it will prefer to move files when dragging them to external volumes, as opposed to creating a copy? I specifically want to find a way to make this happen automatically, as opposed to using keyboard shortcuts.


No, there is no way to change the default option from “copy” to “move”.

Even the option to “move” with a keyboard shortcut is a fairly new feature.

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  • You call 8+ years fairly new? :) – needlol Feb 18 at 6:19

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