Mountain Lion – Change default file save location from iCloud to Local


The purpose of this article is to explain how to change the default file save location in iCloud supported Apps from iCloud to local folders in Mountain Lion.

One of Mountain Lion’s new features is the ability to save files from supported applications to Apple’s iCloud servers,  and then synced to other Macs and iOS devices that use the same iCloud ID. At the moment only a few applications support iCloud document synchronisation, but these will grow as more 3rd Party developers support the new feature. Applications like TextEdit and Apple’s iWork suite support documents in iCloud, as well as some third-party Apps like iA Writer.

The Problem

One of the issues is that if the App supports iCloud files as soon as you save the file, it defaults to iCloud as the save folder.

Cloud Save Dialog

If you want to save to a particular folder on your Mac, it requires a couple of additional steps. You first have to click the ‘Where:’ drop down and select a local folder.

Selecting a Local Folder

Only once you have selected a local folder, do you have access to the folder browse button, that allows you to browse and select any local folder.

Folder Browse

If you want to save all your files in iCloud this is great, but if you prefer to store your files locally, it is a bit of a pain.

The Solution

While there is no setting in preferences to allow you change the file save location default from iCloud to your local folders, you can change the setting using the Terminal App.

The Mac OS X Terminal App allows users to interact with OS X in a text-based manner through a command line interface to the operating system.

Launch your terminal App, which is located in the Utilities sub-folder or the Application folder (or just search for Terminal in Spotlight).

Terminal in Spotlight

At the Terminal Command Prompt copy and paste the following text and hit the ‘Enter’ Key.

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSDocumentSaveNewDocumentsToCloud -bool false

to log out of the terminal type, ‘Exit’ at the command prompt and press the return key.

Then Quit the Terminal App.


You have to restart your application for the change to take effect, but next time you go to save a new document, the app will default to your local folder.

Save Dialog

If you want to revert back to the iCloud default then use the same terminal procedure but enter the following text instead :

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSDocumentSaveNewDocumentsToCloud -bool true


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