Change Safari’s save folder to prevent lost downloads [Pro tip]


Choose Safari download location
Don't lose your Safari downloads.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Safari pro tips bug We want to help you master Safari. Cult of Mac’s Safari Pro Tips series will show you how to make the most of Apple’s web browser on iOS and Mac.

How many times have you downloaded something from the internet and then had to spend way too much time trying to figure out where it was saved? It’s probably a common occurrence — especially on iOS.

But did you know that you can tell Safari exactly where to save your downloads so that you never lose them? We’ll show you how in this Safari pro tip.

By default, Apple puts a “Downloads” folder in your dock on macOS, so locating downloads is easy for everyone. On iPhone and iPad, however, it’s not so simple if you’re not used to digging around in the Files app.

So, what if you want to make your downloads easier to locate, or just want to specify a new home for them? Well thankfully Safari lets you do just that — and we’ll show you how.

Tell Safari where to save your downloads

First, decide where you want your downloads to be saved. If you need to create a new folder in your preferred location, do this now. Then follow these steps on iPhone and iPad:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Safari.
  3. Tap Downloads.
  4. You can now choose whether to save downloads to the “Downloads” folder in iCloud Drive, or in the “Downloads” folder saved locally on your iPhone. Alternatively, you can tap Other, which gives you the option to choose your own save location almost anywhere.

And follow these steps on macOS:

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Click Safari in the menu bar, then click Preferences…
  3. Under the General tab, click the drop-down box alongside File download location. Click Other… to change the save folder, or select Ask for each download if you would prefer to specify a new location every time you begin a download.

Your Safari downloads should now be easier to locate because they’ll end up exactly where you asked them to be saved.