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Script to Copy Files and Folders on Mac

To copy a file or folder to another location on a Mac, the user will first have to navigate to the location on the Finder application and use the context menu option ‘Copy’ or press command + C to copy the file. Then, they have to open the target location and use the context menu option ‘Paste’ or press command + V to paste the file/folder. This method is tedious for the device administrator when managing multiple endpoints and impractical when copying multiple files or folders or doing a batch operation. On the other hand, using a script to automate this process is easy, efficient, and effective. This doc includes a collection of shell scripts that you can run from the Terminal app to copy files or folders on a Mac.

Device admins can remotely run scripts on Macs managed with Hexnode using the Execute Custom Script action.

Scripting Language – Bash

File extension – .sh


The Sample Scripts provided below are adapted from third-party Open-Source sites.

Copy file/folder

Example – cp –R Desktop/1 Desktop/2

The cp command copies the content of a source file to the target file. The -R option allows you to copy a directory and all its subfolders. If the path given ends in /, the directory contents are copied rather than the directory itself.


  • In Bash, before inserting space while defining file or folder names, we use a backslash \ to separate the characters. This will prevent the shell interpreter from interpreting the space as a separator and assuming they were two different arguments.

    Hence, if the path is New Folder/myFile, we write it as New\ Folder/myFile or use single quotes as 'New Folder/myfile' instead.

  • It is recommended to manually validate the script execution on a system before executing the action in bulk.
  • Hexnode will not be responsible for any damage/loss to the system on the behavior of the script.