On a MacBook Pro with Monterey 12.5

For a long time, Cmd+Shift+4 would enable a custom screenshot (drag cursor) that would dump a file to the Desktop in addition to putting the image in the Clipboard.

Cmd+Shift+Ctrl+4 would dump only to the clipboard but not to a file.

The distinction between these two options was helpful when one wanted to capture as a file for perusing later vs. pasting in an application. The only requirement of the user to toggle between 1) saving a file of the screenshot and 2) putting the image only in the Clipboard was inclusion or exclusion of the Ctrl in the sequence.

Since I started using Cmd+Shift+5, sometimes (a newer version of screenshot that has some nice pop-up options and features), the preference I set in there now seems to govern where my screenshots end up for Cmd+Shift+4 as well?

For example, if I hit Cmd+Shift+5 and under Options select Preview in the Save to section, that becomes the new default for Cmd+Shift+4 also. Adding Ctrl to the sequence ignores the preference and just dumps to the clipboard as before (good).

I understand I can toggle these back and forth thru Cmd+Shift+5 and Save to options but it's an extra step. I commonly use Cmd+Shift+5 to capture to the clipboard.

I would prefer that the Cmd+Shift+4 behavior would remain always saving to a file as a separate preference from Cmd+Shift+5.

My question: do others observe this same behavior? Any workarounds besides toggling manually between preferences in Cmd+Shift+5?

1 Answer 1


I can confirm this is the same right back to Mojave, when it was first introduced.
Basically, you have two interfaces to the same app & prefs.

You can tweak the prefs in Terminal using defaults write, e.g.
defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Desktop && \ killall SystemUIServer
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type -string "png"
There's a full list of commands at https://ss64.com/osx/screencapture.html

You could, I suppose, invoke a specific screenshot or prefs change from these parameters & save as an Applescript app or service.

You can't tweak the settings separately for each access method, though. As noted, they are alternative ways to invoke the same app.


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