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How to Change Safari's Default File Download Location

If you’ve visited a Web site that offers files for downloading, typically you just click the Download button or file link, and Safari takes care of the rest. The Downloads status window keeps you updated about the progress of the transfer. While the file is downloading, you can continue browsing or even download additional files; the status window helps you keep track of what’s going on and when everything will be finished transferring. To display the Download status window from the keyboard, press Command+Option+L.

By default, Safari saves any downloaded files to the Downloads folder that appears in your Dock. To specify the location where downloaded files are stored — for example, if you’d like to scan them automatically with an antivirus program — follow these steps:

1

Choose Safari→Preferences.

Alternatively, press Command+, (comma). The Safari Preferences dialog opens.

2

Click the General tab; then click the Save Downloaded Files To pop-up menu and choose Other.

A file navigation dialog will open.

3

Navigate to and select the location where you want the files stored and click Select.

The new location will appear in Save Downloaded Files To section.

4

Click the Close button to exit Preferences.

The folder you chose will now be the default location for anything you download from the Internet.

You can choose to automatically open files that Safari considers safe — things like movies, text files, and PDF files that are very unlikely to store a virus or a damaging macro. By default, the Open “Safe” Files after Downloading check box is selected on the General pane. However, if you’re interested in preventing anything you download from running until you’ve manually checked it with your antivirus application, you can deselect the check box and breathe easy.

Safari has matured to the point that it can seamlessly handle virtually any multimedia file type that it encounters. However, if you’ve downloaded a multimedia file and Safari doesn’t seem to be able to play or display it, try loading the file within QuickTime Player — the Swiss Army knife of multimedia players that can recognize a huge number of audio, video, and image formats.

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