I want the "Downloads" folder not on the system drive but on my second internal drive.

In Lion I just deleted the "Downloads" folder and replace it with an alias with the same name (pointing to the folder on the second drive ofc).

In ML I get ""Downloads" can't be modified or deleted because it's required by Mac OS X".

How to delete the folder? Can I change the permissions first to be able to delete it? Any help much appreciated.


It is possible to do this from within the Terminal. Launch it from Applications → Utilities → Terminal.

  1. Move the Downloads folder to your second drive, replacing Data (the name of my second drive) with whatever yours is called. You may be prompted for your OS X password.

    sudo mv ~/Downloads /Volumes/Data/Downloads
  2. (Optional) Create a symlink to allow you to access your new Downloads folder in the old location. Again, replace Data with the name of your second drive.

    ln -s /Volumes/Data/Downloads ~/Downloads

This has just worked for me on OS X 10.8.1.

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  • Only issue for me is that the symlink of "Movies" has a white, blank-page icon in the Finder even after a restart, while "Downloads" gets the right one – Baumr Feb 20 '14 at 14:23
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    This solution works, but breaks the Cmd+Option+L shortcut. It goes to an empty, "broken" folder instead — e.g. Cmd+Up doesn't work. – Daniel Serodio Mar 4 '14 at 19:26

I'd encourage you not to mess with permissions.

You can create a new folder on the other drive (or use any other folder that you prefer) and use Safari preferences to set the new folder as the destination for downloaded files to be placed.

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  • The standard folders are proctected with ACLs so a simple chmod won't help here. – nohillside Aug 29 '12 at 8:33
  • Forgot about that. I'll edit my answer, just keeping the advice and the different approach. – Thecafremo Aug 29 '12 at 8:41
  • I've always just told apps to download to my Downloads folder on my 'data' drive. – macmark84 Mar 14 '14 at 15:15
  • It's a PITA doing it for everything though. There's always going to be another time you have to change it. In Windows you just right click, properties, change location. Then by default all programs download where you want them to. Surely there's a way on Mac.. – OJFord Apr 7 '14 at 16:04

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