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Screenshots Location: How to Find Screenshots on Mac [2024 Update]

Jean Updated on May 10, 2024| min read

You may take screenshots on Mac because you've found some interesting images or content you would like to save for future use. If you want to reference the screenshot some other time, you'll only need to visit its exact location to open it. Sometimes, people find it hard to locate their recent or past screenshots.

This could be because they've taken many screenshots or their default storage location is disorganized. That shouldn't worry you much since this article will guide you on where screenshots are stored on Mac by default. We'll also outline steps to find lost screenshots and tips for changing your default screenshot location to improve their organization.

Screenshots Are Usually Saved to The Desktop

When you take screenshots on your Mac, the device will automatically save them to Desktop and listed as PNG files. Your device will save the screenshots under the name "Screen Shot," followed by the date and time of modification. In situations where you've taken many screenshots, they'll most likely fill up your Desktop and make it look disorganized and untidy. You'll therefore face a hard time locating a specific screenshot.

To make things easier on your side, you can use the "View" menu to organize your MacOS Desktop. Click on "View" then "User Stack" to have the files sorted automatically based on stacks. Once you've located a screenshot on the Desktop, you can view it through the following steps:

Step 1. Double-click on the screenshot icon.

Step 2. Check to confirm the image preview.

Step 3. If no screenshot is displayed, your system has saved it in a different location.

You'll therefore need to apply additional steps to trace the screenshots. We'll show you how to do this in the next section.   

How to Find Out Where Mac Screenshots Are Saved

Sometimes, applying the method outlined in the above section may not yield any results. This could be frustrating at times. Despite that, we will show you additional methods to help you find saved screenshots on Mac. These methods include the following.

  1. Method 1. Accessing the Recents Folder
  2. Method 2. Using the Finder Search Bar
  3. Method 3. Through Spotlight Search

Method 1. Accessing the Recents Folder

You can use the Recents Folder to trace your latest screenshots on Mac through the following steps:

Step 1. Open Finder.

step 2. Click on "Recent" from the left sidebar.

Step 3. Cross-check the files under "Images" to find your most recent screenshots.

recent images

Step 4. Once you trace the screenshot you needed, you can drag and drop it to a location that will be easy to find next time. 

Method 2. Using the Finder Search Bar

Another easy way to find saved screenshots on Mac is typing specific search tags on the Finder search bar. This will display all the screenshots saved on your device. You can apply this method through the following steps:

Step 1. Launch Finder.

Step 2. Click on the magnifying glass icon to open the search bar.

Step 3. Copy the search tag below and hit Return. 


search tag

Step 4. Click on "Save" under the search bar for the system to create a smart folder based on the search results. You'll then view all the screenshots saved on your device.

Step 5. Alternatively, you can search for a specific screenshot by typing its name on the search bar. This is only possible if you know the exact name. 

Method 3. Through Spotlight Search

Apart from using Finder, you can also utilize the Spotlight tool to find saved screenshots on your Mac. You can achieve this through the following steps:

Step 1. Launch Spotlight.

Step 2. Copy the command below and hit Return.


Step 3. You'll see a list of screenshots saved on your device—double-click on any image to view it.

spotlight search screenshots

Step 4. To know the exact location for a given screenshot, click on it and hit Command + Return.

How to Find Lost Screenshots on Mac

If you've lost or accidentally deleted screenshots on Mac, many ways exist to recover them. We'll outline two methods to find lost/deleted screenshots in the section.

  1. Method 1. Restoring Screenshots from Trash
  2. Method 2. Using Time Machine Backup

Method 1. Restoring Screenshots from Trash

When you delete any file on Mac, the Trash folder will save a copy of it. Provided you've not emptied your trash; it's effortless to find deleted screenshots. You can apply the following steps to restore screenshots from Trash:

Step 1. Click on the Trash icon.

Step 2. Scheme through the deleted files to find your lost screenshot.

Step 3. Once you confirm the lost screenshot, you can drag it to a preferred location or right-click on it and select Put Back to recover it.

trash folder

Step 4. With the Put-Back feature, you'll save your screenshot to its initial location, i.e., Desktop.

Method 2. Using Time Machine Backup

Time Machine allows you to back up and restore documents, videos, images, and music on Mac. If you had saved your screenshots on Time Machine but have lost the copies on your Mac, you can recover them through the following steps:

Step 1. Connect your Mac to the external drive with your Time Machine backups. (You can skip this step if the backups are in your internal drive).

Step 2. Click on the "Time Machine" icon.

Step 3. Select "Enter Time Machine" from the drop-down.

select enter time machine

Step 4. Select your backup version based on the timeline provided on the left.

Step 5. Go to the original folder for the lost or deleted screenshot.

Step 6. Click on the file you want to recover and choose Restore. You'll have the lost file back to its location.

How to Change the Default Location for Screenshots

If you don't want to save your screenshots on the Desktop or are tired of losing them because of disorganized files, we have a tip for you! You can save the time taken to find your screenshots by changing their default location on Mac.

There are two ways to change the default location for your screenshots based on the OS version you're using, i.e., 1) macOS Mojave or later and 2) macOS High Sierra or Earlier. Let's look at the steps to change the default screenshot location for each OS version.

  1. Method 1. macOS Mojave or Later
  2. Method 2. macOS High Sierra or Earlier

Method 1. macOS Mojave or Later

Apply the following steps to change your default screenshot location:

Step 1. Open the Screenshot app under the Utility folder.

screenshot app

Step 2. Click on "Options" to view the available ways to save your screenshot, i.e., Desktop, Documents, Clipboard, etc.

Step 3. Select a "Save to" option for your screenshots.

select save option

Step 4. Once you've selected a given option, Mac will make it the default location for your subsequent screenshots.

Method 2. macOS High Sierra or Earlier

You can change your default screenshot location through the following steps:

Step 1. Open the Terminal app under the Utility folder.

terminal app

Step 2. Copy the command below, followed by a space:

Default write com.apple.screencapture location

Step 3. Drag and drop the folder to be saved on the Terminal command box.

new screenshot location

Step 4. Next, press Enter.

Step 5. Copy the command below:

killall SystemUIServer

Step 6. Press Return. You've now set the default location to save your screenshots.

Bonus Tip: How to Take Screenshots on Windows

Having seen all the above, you must know how to find where your screenshots are saved on your Mac. This is helpful to Mac users, while Windows users may encounter similar situations. So, for windows users, EaseUS ScreenShot might be an ideal choice for them when screenshots are needed. Avoid using complex rules on the keyboard, and this tool allows customizing the screenshot hotkey as you like. From F1 to F12, choose the hotkey you like. It goes fully compatible with Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7. Click here to download it right now!

Step 1. Download and install EaseUS Screenshot on your PC, then launch it.

launch EaseUS Screenshot

Step 2. You will see two options on the toolbar. The left one is for "Rectangular screenshot", and the right one is for "Full screenshot".

To take a partial screenshot, you just click on the left button (or double click the "Ctrl" key), then drag your mouse to select the area on your screen; To take a full screenshot, you can click the right button (or double click "Alt" on keyboard).

Take full or partial screenshot

Step 3. When the screen is captured, you can see an editing toolbar below the screenshot. It provides a set of tools to modify the screenshot by drawing, adding text, mosaic, etc. 

Edit screenshots

Step 4. Once done, click the "Save" button or press "Space" to save the screenshot. Or, you can click "Copy" or hit the "Enter" key to copy the screenshot to the clipboard.

Export screenshot


1. Why can't I find my Mac screenshots?

When you take a screenshot on your Mac, it is automatically saved to your Desktop. You can find them either by navigating to your Desktop screen or using Finder to open the Desktop folder and see your saved images there.

2. How do you save a screenshot on Mac?

To capture the entire screen, press Command-Shift-3. The screenshot will be automatically saved as a PNG file on your desktop with the filename starting with "Picture" followed by a number, for example, Picture 1, Picture 2, and so on. To copy the entire screen, press Command-Control-Shift-3.


The default location for all screenshots taken on Mac is the Desktop. To find a given screenshot, you'll just need to navigate there, and you'll find it. If this process doesn't work, you can find saved screenshots on Mac by accessing the Recents folder, using the Finder search bar, or through Spotlight search.

If you lose or accidentally delete screenshots on Mac, you can recover them using the Trash folder or Time Machine backup. These steps help restore the lost screenshots to their default or a new location. If you're not comfortable with the current location for your screenshots, you can assign them a new default location.

The steps for changing the default location vary based on your macOS version. For macOS Mojave or Later, you can use the Screenshots app. The Terminal app is your best option for macOS High Sierra or earlier. Happy screenshot-taking!  

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