Mac version of moving files?

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by ziggie216, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. ziggie216 macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2008
    Real dumb question thats been bugging me. I came from a Windows OS base and to move a file / folder, usually I "cut and paste" using keyboard commands. Now how do I do this on a Mac when I'm trying to move a file / folder to the previous folder, in Icon view, with a few quick steps since it's not possible to "cut" a file / folder?
  2. Ritsuka macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2006
    Copy & Move (from the edit menu).
    In short: cmd-c cmd-alt-v
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    You can drag and drop files to move them. You can also "Command-C" to copy, then "Command-Option-V" to move. I believe that was introduced in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.
  4. w0lf macrumors 65816


    Feb 16, 2013
  5. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    As usual, a simple question can lead to a long, stupid answer...

    You're specifically asking about moving (not copying) which makes dragging with the mouse your best bet. The keyboard only offers copy-paste as an option, not cut-paste. As you've noted, this is different from Windows which has both options.

    BUT, as with everything, things are complicated.

    If you're dealing with everything on the same hard drive, dragging a file MOVES IT. That is, it's erased from the old location, just like you wanted.

    But when dragging from one drive to another (like when dragging a file to a USB drive) the Mac will instead COPY IT and you'll have the file in both places.

    This makes sense when dealing with an external drive, but if you have multiple hard drives inside your Mac it can get a little confusing as to why the behavior changes depending on what folder you're dragging the file to.

    And to get super complicated: You can reverse all of that with the keyboard. You can make a COPY on an inter-drive drag by holding down the Option key. And you can MOVE a file to a 2nd drive by holding the Command key.
  6. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    If you like commandlines there is an option for that too! It's the "mv" command (it moves files/folders from location but also from names aka it renames files and folders). The commandline is accessible via Terminal (comparable to Windows Powershell only more powerful).
  7. 82asmdf203 macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2013
    XtraFinder adds an option to cut files via the right click menu. It also arranges folders on top if you wish. That's something coming from Win to Mac that I never could get used to. XtraFinder is free. :cool:
  8. benji888 macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2006
    United States
    ^This is helpful, drag & drop is easier for this. (Use the File menu in Finder to open two separate Finder Windows for this.)

    To make things a little simpler... a little green circle + plus sign shows next to the cursor whenever a file/folder is being copied—no green +, it is being moved.

    green + = copy
    no green + = move

    To force copy, press the "Option" key.
    To force move, press the "Command" key.

    A curved arrow shows when you are simply creating an "alias" of that file/folder.
    "Command & Option" keys will force an "alias".

    (you can press the key at any time before letting go of your button, whatever you are holding down when you let go of the button is what it will do.)

    {If you are using a windows keyboard, ALT=Option, windows=Command, control is same}
  9. deviant macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2007
    DO NOT ever MOVE files from disk A to disk B. If something goes wrong (error and many other things (usb disconnect for example) you will lose files. The safest way is always copy and then delete the original.

Share This Page