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I want to delete the Downloads folder on my Mac as I just save everything on my background so that way I have to sort it right away. I'm wondering if you can help me by telling me if there is a way to put in some terminal code to delete the downloads folder ? I never use it and apparently you can't just delete it.

  • Would it satisfy you to remove it from the Dock and from the sidebar? – WGroleau Oct 24 at 4:58
  • Not really, I just don't want files to accidentally end up in there, so I'd rather it just be gone. I don't think it would mess up the computer, would it ? – Dominic Oct 24 at 6:39
  • Much harder for them to accidentally get in there if there is no icon to drag to. And if your only way to delete things is in Terminal, I would think you’re familiar enough with commands to get them back out. – WGroleau Oct 24 at 7:36
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First of all, you need to change the default location for downloads to your Desktop folder, if that's what you want.

In Safari > Preferences > General, there's a setting for the downloads location. This sets the preference for all applications, not just Safari.

If you don't do this, then any app that wants to save a file there will likely recreate the folder in the process of saving.

As of Catalina, the Downloads folder has a com.apple.macl extended attribute, which is protected by SIP. You may therefore need to disable System Integrity Protection before deleting this folder.

How do I disable System Integrity Protection (SIP) AKA "rootless" on macOs [OS X]

Don't forget to enable it afterwards, otherwise, you'll be 'leaving the front door open'.

Apple has hardwired some folders to ensure that they will always be present. It's possible that the folder might even get recreated. The alternative is just to hide it from view in the Finder.

Sometimes, MacOS can be inflexible about the way things are done, and it's often easiest to reprogram the more flexible computer on the other side of the keyboard. ;-)

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