I have a cloud drive folder where I store my documents, pictures, etc. I want to change the documents, pictures, etc in home to point to my cloud drive folder. I was able to rename the Documents folder just using sudo mv and then create a symbolic link for the cloud drive Documents folder, but for some reason I cannot mv/rename the Pictures folder. I always get "Operation not permitted".

I already moved the photo library bundle out to another location and set that as the system photos library in the Photos app.


1 Answer 1


If you are not using iCloud sync - game on. Hard link / sym link - unix filesystem is a unix filesystem.

If you are using iCloud, it intercepts the filesystem IO at a low level and I try not to mess with the folders Apple makes In this general case since as soon as you update the OS or some software makes assumptions about what folders exist, then things break.

I love storing my main photo library on secondary storage so you’re on the right track there.

What’s stopping you from making a pictures folder in the Documents folder and just using that? If I understand you have a Pictures folder as well already in iCloud so just updating your finder sidebar and recent locations to be there would get all the apps to use the new cloud pictures. Maybe I’m just not seeing the case where something can’t find your new Pictures folder or what’s failing in your mv command or attempts to remove the user folders.

  • Oh I'm not actually using iCloud. I have a cloud folder set up with resilio sync hosted on a box, so my "cloud" is actually a sync between my laptop, my desktop, and a remote server I manage. AFAIK MacOS probably won't mess anything up with a symlinked folder (compared to an alias) so that should be OK. The reason I don't want to just put a pictures folder in documents is because I want it symlinked in the home folder so the system actually sees that as the pictures folder. I'm so used to being able to do whatever I want on Linux and windows to a lesser extent.. this is frustrating.
    – aboutros
    Commented May 10, 2020 at 21:56
  • I should delete my answer - let me add a preamble - you can sum link to your heart’s content if iCloud sync is out of the question. @aboutros - What error specifically do you get?
    – bmike
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 0:16
  • I get "Operation not permitted". when I try to `sudo mv Pictures Pictures-Old". I was able to rename documents this way, but for some reason it is not allowing it here.
    – aboutros
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 5:12

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