How to Find Screenshots on Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide


Ted Stinson

Finding screenshots on your Mac doesn’t have to be a headache. In fact, it’s pretty straightforward once you know where to look. Macs are designed to save your screenshots to the desktop by default, but they can also be found in other locations if you’ve changed your settings. Let’s dive into the steps to locate your screenshots so you can get back to what you were doing.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Find Screenshots on Mac

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s establish what we’re aiming to do here. We want to locate the screenshots you’ve taken on your Mac. This could be for sharing, editing, or just organizing your files.

Step 1: Check the Desktop

Check your desktop for any recent screenshots you have taken.

When you take a screenshot on a Mac, it usually pops up right on the desktop, labeled with the date and time it was taken. If your desktop is cluttered, you might have to do a bit of digging, but this is the first place to look.

Step 2: Use Finder

Open Finder and navigate to the "Screenshots" folder under "Media Types" if you have macOS Mojave or later.

In Finder, under the "Go" menu, you’ll find a section called "Media Types." Here, you’ll see a folder labeled "Screenshots," which automatically groups all the screenshots you have taken.

Step 3: Search with Spotlight

Press Command+Space to open Spotlight and type "screenshot" to search for screenshot files.

The Spotlight search is a powerful tool on your Mac that can find pretty much anything. When you search "screenshot," it’ll pull up everything related to that term, including your screenshot files.

Step 4: Use Terminal

Open Terminal and use the command "defaults write location" followed by the path to the folder where you want to save screenshots.

This is a bit more advanced, but if you’re comfortable with Terminal, you can actually change where your screenshots are saved by default. This might be how you’ve set up your system, so it’s worth checking if you’re not finding screenshots in the usual spots.

Step 5: Check Trash

Look in the Trash bin to see if you have accidentally deleted any screenshots.

Sometimes we get a little too clean-happy and accidentally toss something we need. If you’ve checked the other places and still can’t find your screenshots, have a peek in the Trash. They might be there waiting for you.

After you complete these steps, you should have located your screenshots. If you still can’t find them, it might be worth checking your system settings to see if you’ve set a custom location for screenshots to be saved.

Tips for Finding Screenshots on Mac

  • Always check the desktop first; it’s the default location for screenshots.
  • Use Spotlight search if you can’t find screenshots on the desktop.
  • Rename your screenshots to make them easier to find in the future.
  • Periodically clean your desktop to avoid cluttering that may hide your screenshots.
  • Remember to check the Trash bin if you can’t find your screenshots anywhere else.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I take a screenshot on a Mac?

To take a screenshot on a Mac, press Command+Shift+3 for the entire screen, or Command+Shift+4 for a selected portion of the screen.

Can I change where my screenshots are saved on a Mac?

Yes, you can change the default location where screenshots are saved on a Mac using the Terminal or System Preferences.

Why are my screenshots not showing on the desktop?

If your screenshots are not showing on the desktop, you might have changed the default save location, or they might be hidden among other files.

How can I quickly find all screenshots on my Mac?

You can quickly find all screenshots on your Mac using the Finder’s "Media Types" section or by searching "screenshot" in Spotlight.

What format are Mac screenshots saved in?

By default, Mac screenshots are saved as .png files, but you can change this to other formats like .jpg using Terminal commands.


  1. Check the desktop.
  2. Use Finder.
  3. Search with Spotlight.
  4. Use Terminal.
  5. Check Trash.


Finding screenshots on your Mac is a breeze once you know where to look. Whether you’re a power user or just starting out, understanding how to navigate your Mac’s filing system is crucial. Remember, your screenshots are most likely sitting pretty on your desktop, but if you’ve customized your settings, they could be hiding elsewhere. Use Finder, Spotlight, or Terminal to track them down, and don’t forget to check the Trash just in case.

Managing your screenshots effectively is all about staying organized and knowing the ins and outs of your Mac. So, the next time you find yourself in a screenshot scavenger hunt, just revisit these steps, and you’ll be on your way. Happy hunting!