How to Move Files in Mac OS X.
File handling on Mac is not particularly difficult. For example, if you need to learn how to transfer files between PCs and smartphones, learning how to move files to Mac is a simple and intuitive process.
Usually, you just select the file you want to move with your cursor and then drag and drop it to the desired location. However, depending on the desired destination, your Mac can either copy or move the entire file.
Here, we’ll walk you through all the different methods of handling files on a Mac, including moving them to the same or a different drive, and moving and copying files to the cloud.
How to move and copy files to the same Mac drive
Understanding how the file handling system in Mac OS works can help you improve your workflow. Once you learn the different ways to move files, backing up your files on your Mac becomes easy.
Let’s start with the easiest when it comes to file handling. Drag the file to the same drive on your Mac. When you do, your computer will automatically move this file rather than making a copy of it.
- Click the file you want to move to select it.
- Hold down the mouse button and drag the file to a new location.
- If you drag it to the new folder, you will see that the file has moved from its original location to its new destination.
If your goal is to keep the file in its original location and also have a copy of it in the new destination folder, you’ll need to use this keyboard trick to do this.
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- Click the file you want to move to select it.
- Hold down the Option (or Alt) key on your keyboard while moving the file to a new location.
You will see that instead of moving the file, your Mac will automatically copy it to the new destination folder. Now you can see that there are two identical files on your computer.
How to transfer files to a different drive
Your Mac’s default file-handling behavior changes when transferring files between the Macintosh HD and another drive. Regardless of whether it is an external or internal drive, the system automatically responds to copying the file rather than moving it. This is because your Mac assumes that you are backing up files.
- Click a file or folder to select it.
- Move it to a different location by dragging and dropping to a different drive.
- When you drop it, you will see that the Mac will create a copy of it on the new disk, not move it there.
If you only want to keep the newly created copy of the file, you can delete the original to delete it. Or, you can use this trick to move the file to a different drive first rather than copy it.
Press and hold the Cmd (Command) key while selecting the file before dragging and dropping the file. After you put it to its new destination, you will see that there is now only one file on your computer. This saves you time and memory.
How to Transfer and Copy Files from Mac to iCloud
If you’ve decided to transfer and store files online, it’s important to know that your Mac has a great alternative to services like Google Drive, DropBox and others. iCloud Drive is a built-in option that you can use to store and access files from other iOS devices under the same Apple ID. Plus, since it’s already part of your Mac, it doesn’t require third-party accounts or downloads.
Moving and copying files to and from iCloud Drive is as easy as transferring files to another location on your Mac.
When you drag a file from Macintosh HD to iCloud, your computer will move it there by default.
If you want to keep the original file and also have a copy of it on iCloud Drive, hold down the Option (or Alt) key on your keyboard while moving the file to a new location. This will copy your file to iCloud.
Use keyboard shortcuts to work with files
A great way to improve your user experience and become a more efficient Mac user is to learn basic Mac keyboard shortcuts. When it comes to file handling, there are two keyboard shortcuts that will quickly turn you into a power user.
- Cmd + C and Cmd + V
The best keyboard shortcut that most users know from day one. You can use it to copy and paste any file anywhere on your Mac without touching your mouse or touchpad.
- Cmd + C and Option + Cmd + V
This label is a little less well known. Just add the Option key to the second part of the copy and paste action, and you will move the file to a new destination, not create a copy of it.
File handling made easy
Moving files to Mac is pretty easy. Once you understand how it works, you can move on to learning how to move files between different devices. A useful skill when you need to transfer files from Windows PC or transfer data from Android to Mac.
Have you ever had to transfer files to and from Mac? Share your experience with us in the comments below.