Tyler Robertson

The screenshot settings every Mac should use by default

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

When I worked in customer support, I took a lot of screenshots. Many, many times my MacBook Pro ran out of space because of screenshots, and I'd have to spend hours deleting 25-100GB of images that weren't relevant anymore. Even now as a software engineer, I'm not taking quite as many screenshots, but the desktop gets cluttered if I'm not careful. On every Mac I set up now, I use the steps below to keep screenshot files out of sight and automatically cleaned up. Saving them here for future use!

Change the default screenshot folder

In Finder, make a new folder inside of Pictures called Screenshots. In the Terminal app, run the following:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Pictures/Screenshots

The next time you take a screenshot, it should get saved in that new folder instead of the desktop.

Add a Folder Action in Automator to remove old screenshots

Open the Automator app — it comes with your Mac by default, but you'd be forgiven if this is the first time you've opened it — and create a new Folder action. Set it to run in your new Screenshots folder.

In the Folder action, add the following steps:

And that's it! The workflow should look something like this:

Automator workflow

Save the file, and you're good to go. Any time you take a new screenshot, old screenshots from yesterday and beyond will automatically get trashed. 🚮