Avoid a cluttered download folder by using /tmp

Jan 08, '14 06:00:00AM

Contributed by: david-bo

First thing I do when I get a new system is to redirect downloads from ~/Downloads to /tmp.

The advantage with this adjustment is that in /tmp files older than a week is automatically deleted (and at every restart). Almost all files I download don't need to be stored, for example:

1. Installers. Run the installer (or dmg) from /tmp and then forget about it and it is automatically deleted within a couple of days.

2. PDFs I just want to read (or possibly print) once.

3. Templates, e.g. expense reports and similar (typically .doc or .xls). I download it, fill it in, generate a pdf and e-mail to the appropriate recipient. No need to keep the original template.

4. Torrents. Download the torrent, add it to your torrent client and then there is no need to keep the original torrent file around anymore. Besides, a lot of the files I download using torrents I just "use" them once so they can be also be downloaded to the same folder as the torrent is stored in, that is /tmp.

If I ever need a file that has been deleted from /tmp I just go to the browsers download history and download it again. Happens me maybe once or twice/year. So much easier than trying to find a file among hundreds of randomly named files in the Download folder.


I also always drag /tmp to the sidebar in the Finder and use it for - ta-da - temporary storage of files I work with briefly. Then I never need to cleanup my Downloads or Documents folder ending up in situations where "Hmm, what is this six months old file? Should I keep it or not?". If I put it in /tmp I know that

The very few downloads I want to store more permanently I just select Save as… when I click the download link and directly store them where they are supposed to go.

I just wished I could change the download folder for applications such as Bluetooth receive file, Skype, Mail.app etc. They still fill up my download folder in a very useless way.

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