How do you 'move' a file and not copy it?

Sirious

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 2, 2013
1,410
2,339
United Kingdom
Been using Mac for a few years now and sometimes I often want to transfer files from my Mac to my USB.

I noticed that it actually copies the file into the USB rather than moving it - so I have to delete the original after (using drag and drop).

Can this behaviour be changed? I just want a simple move-to-USB, like on Windows.
I know that having a copy created is better, but just want to quickly get on my way without fiddling with the trash and what-not.

Thanks
 

chown33

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 9, 2009
8,362
4,346
Pumpkindale
There's also Copy (Edit -> Copy), followed by a Paste Special (Edit, hold down alt/option key, Paste becomes Paste Special).

Google search terms: Finder paste special
 

MacBH928

macrumors 68040
May 17, 2008
3,371
1,119
I have a similar kind of question. I want to copy files but keep all the metadata of the file(Date Created, Date modified) .

how can I do this? alt+drag and drop will work? or copy and paste?
 

Gregg2

macrumors 603
May 22, 2008
5,809
344
Milwaukee, WI
Try holding the Command key while dragging. You'll know you're moving instead of copying because the green + will go away.
I thought it was the Option key. Command-click = right click, n'est pas?
Now I'm gonna hafta check it out at home...
 

Darth.Titan

macrumors 68030
Oct 31, 2007
2,707
297
Austin, TX
I thought it was the Option key. Command-click = right click, n'est pas?
Now I'm gonna hafta check it out at home...
Option-drag does the opposite of what the OP wants. It forces a copy when moving a file on the same drive.

For the record, you can also command-option drag to create an alias of the file you're dragging.
 

SnowLeopard OSX

macrumors 6502a
Dec 5, 2012
675
60
California
Click and drag the file where you want to move it while holding command. For me, it's control because I switched out the command and control functions.
 

Dana Cline

macrumors newbie
Oct 23, 2015
12
0
anywhere
I thought it was the Option key. Command-click = right click, n'est pas?
Now I'm gonna hafta check it out at home...
i press the Option key,,if the OP means like the window. The file still in original folder after dragging to other places. Control + click = right click.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,182
5,537
This is one of my gripes with the Finder.
There is no "move" command for files or folders (as there is a "copy" command).

I've found that sometimes the "command key" trick works, and sometimes it doesn't.

Usually the only certain way to do it is to copy first, then to delete the old file/folder once you know the replacement is "in place".

Or, use a "finder replacement" app that DOES have a "move" command.
For this, I like "Pathfinder".
 

chown33

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 9, 2009
8,362
4,346
Pumpkindale
This is one of my gripes with the Finder.
There is no "move" command for files or folders (as there is a "copy" command).

I've found that sometimes the "command key" trick works, and sometimes it doesn't.

Usually the only certain way to do it is to copy first, then to delete the old file/folder once you know the replacement is "in place".

Or, use a "finder replacement" app that DOES have a "move" command.
For this, I like "Pathfinder".
First, which OS version are you referring to?

Second, try the following:
1. In Finder, select several files.
2. Press ⌘C.
3. Open a folder on another drive.
4. Click the Edit menu to show it.
5. Observe the "Paste ..." menu item.
6. Press the ALT/OPTION key.
7. Does the "Paste ..." menu item change? To what?

When I do the above on a 10.8 OS, the word "Paste" changes to "Move".
 

TioP

macrumors newbie
Feb 2, 2012
2
0
California, US
I am still running Snow Leopard and had something related to this question ... but only 'related'. Because the original question as-is makes no sense. I fail to figure out how the asking user (Sirious) expects to move an object to another medium (USB drive) without copying it. The only way that you can do this is copying and then deleting the original. That effects a 'move' semantics, but the copy is unavoidable. Effectively, you can truly move objects (that is WITHOUT COPYING THEM as an intermediate step) only within the same medium (the hard disk, e.g.). This amounts (or should amount, I should say) to replicating the (source) directory entry of the object to the target/destination directory, then deleting the entry in the source directory, all done atomically, so that the file system doesn't get corrupt. NO DATA MOVEMENT IS INVOLVED.

To me, as a rarely-Mac-user, this very question sounds fascinating. UNIX has the 'mv' command that does exactly what I described when source and destination are different directories (semantics change, of course when 'mv' is used as 'rename' within the same directory). That exists since the first UNIX systems, somewhere in 1972 or 1973. Here we have, 45 years later, MacOS that has similar functionality only in 10.9 !!!. At least that is what I understand from the various posts here.

Kind of pathetic, I think. Makes me understand better why I am just an occasional Mac user.