Mac version of moving files?

ziggie216

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 14, 2008
390
173
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?
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,421
770
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.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,906
1,186
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.
 

dyn

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2009
2,708
384
.nl
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).
 

82asmdf203

macrumors member
Nov 18, 2013
42
0
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:
 

benji888

macrumors 68000
Sep 27, 2006
1,782
361
United States
...dragging with the mouse your best bet...

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.
^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.

Lastly
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}
 

deviant

macrumors 65816
Oct 27, 2007
1,177
249
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.
 
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