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Your Screenshot Can’t Be Saved on Mac, How to Fix?

Updated on Thursday, May 16, 2024

iBoysoft author Ciki Liu

Written by

Ciki Liu
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


How to Troubleshoot Screenshot Can't Be Saved Error on Mac?


Commonly, Mac users press the Command + Shift + 3 or Command + Shift + 4 key combinations to take a screenshot on Mac. When a screenshot is taken, you can perform multiple tasks on the image by right-clicking on it. However, some users find it unable to save the screenshot with one error message popping up.

Your screen shot can't be saved. You don't have permission to save files in the location where screen shots are stored.

How to fix the screenshot can't be saved issue? Depending on the reason that triggers this problem, this post will offer you three working solutions. Let's move forward.

Your Screenshot Cant Be Saved on Mac

Restart the Mac to fix the system glitch

The first thing you can do is to give your Mac a restart. By doing so, it's possible to fix some system glitches and prepare your macOS in an ideal status. Simply click on the Apple icon and select Restart.

restart Mac

Check and reset the screenshot folder with Terminal

Oftentimes, the screenshot can't be saved error is caused by the permission issue with the default folder that stores your screenshots. To begin with, you should find out where are your screenshots automatically saved. That's when Terminal comes in.

Check the screenshot location

Step 1. Bring out Terminal from Finder > Applications > Utilities.

Step 2. Enter the following commands and hit the return key.

defaults read com.apple.screencapture location

Step 3. You should see the path of the screenshot default folder. In most cases, it should be /Users/default/Desktop, which means the screenshots will be saved to your Mac Desktop.

check screenshot folder in Terminal

 Note: If you are seeing this message: defaults delete com.apple.ScreenCapture, means you have incorrect permissions or access to the screenshot folder.

Now you have two options to fix the screenshot can't be saved issue. One is to reset the screenshot location, and the other is to initialize the whole screenshot procedure.

Option 1. Reset the default screenshot folder

It's possible to fix the screenshot can't be saved issue by resetting the default screenshot folder and rebooting the system UI. Again, you are going to need the Terminal.

Step 1. Open Terminal and input the following prompts.

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Pictures

Note: You can replace Pictures with any location you prefer to save your screenshots, say, Documents, Downloads, and Desktop.

Step 2. Reboot the system UI by entering the commands below. Hit Enter afterward.

killall SystemUIServer

reset screenshot folder

In this case, the macOS will restart your Mac menu bar and save the changes you make. Take a screenshot now, is the problem fixed?

Option 2. Restore macOS screen capture to default

Another way to fix the screenshot can't be saved error is removing all macOS screen capture configurations and restoring it to the default. You can have a fresh start to take screenshots on Mac then. All you need to do is enter the following command lines in Terminal and hit Enter.

defaults delete com.apple.ScreenCapture

After that, restart your Mac and see if the problem's solved.

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Unlock the screenshot folder & enable full permissions

If a folder is locked by the system, you won't be able to add any files to it until it's unlocked. So, perhaps the default screenshot folder is locked and that's why the screenshot is not working on Mac. To unlock a folder on Mac, you should:

Step 1. Go to the default screenshot folder which you can find from the method above.

Step 2. Right-click on the folder and choose Get Info from the context options.

Step 3. Under General, you should see the Locked option. Make sure the box is unchecked.

unlock folder

Or, you don't have read-write permission to the folder. You can keep scrolling down the Get Info list and find the Sharing & Permissions section. Under Privilege, make sure the folder is granted read-write access.

change folder permissions

Adjust preference in third-party browsers or software

It's reported by users from the forum that Mozilla Firefox has a screenshot compatibility issue. Luckily, users can fix it by upgrading or downgrading to certain versions of Firefox to capture the screen freely, say, Firefox version 91 or 93. Alternatively, you can choose a different web browser such as Chrome and Safari.

One more possibility is some third-party software, especially the one related to banking or accounting, has blocked screen capturing to prevent cyber fraud, online theft, etc. For example, if you've installed Trusteer Endpoint Protection (Rapport), you should go to Console > Security Policy > Block Screen Capturing and choose Never to fix the screenshot can't be saved error.

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After reading this post, you should know how to fix the screenshots can't be saved issue in four effective ways. You can restart the Mac, reset the default screenshot path, unlock the screenshot folder, and change settings in third-party programs. Do these solutions work for you? Leave a comment below!