Mac Script to move files to new subdir

Cynthia Blue

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2009
I'm new to Applescript and Automator... I have done some limited cron scripting in my past but will need to relearn how to do it.

What I'm looking to do is move all my .mp4 and .mov files from my hard drive to my external backup drive that's connected via my network. So basically just from one directory to another.

I want to find all the .mp4 and .mov files that exist, and then if the corresponding subdirectory does not exist in the other directory, create it (same name) and move the files over. If it does exist, just move the files.

What would be the easiest way to do this? I've been just copying them manually and I'm getting tired of it so want to automate it. For past directories, it would be a one-time thing. For 2017, I would need to do this every time I put my phone images and videos onto my hard drive.



macrumors 68020
Jan 1, 2008
cp -rp

(~5 times faster than rsync)
(optionally, with -n to not overwrite existing)



macrumors newbie
Dec 3, 2014
If you only want the .MOV and .MP4 commands then you may need a couple of other commands in a terminal.

Step 1:
cd /directory/to/copy/from
find . -iname '*.mp4' -print > /tmp/copyfiles
find . -iname '*.mov' -print >> /tmp/copyfiles

Then for rsync:
rsync -axH --files-from=/tmp/copyfiles . /backup/directory

If you want a (complex) one-line command then you can use tar instead:

( find /directory/to/copy/from \( -iname '*.mov' -o -iname '*.mp4' \) -print0 | xargs -0 tar cf - ) | (chdir /backup/directory ; tar xfp -)

To break that down:
Command #1: ( find /directory/to/copy/from \( -iname '*.mov' -o -iname '*.mp4' \) -print0 | xargs -0 tar cf - )
a. the first half is the two find command above, printing to stdout with names separated by NUL
find /directory/to/copy/from \( -iname '*.mov' -o -iname '*.mp4' \) -print0
b. then this is piped into xargs to make a tar file with only those files (on the overall output rather than a temp file)
xargs -0 tar cf -

Command #2: change directory to the target directory, then un-tar the results
chdir /backup/directory ; tar xfp -
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.