MV(1) General Commands Manual MV(1)
mv – move files
mv [-f | -i | -n] [-v] source target
mv [-f | -i | -n] [-v] source ... directory
In its first form, the mv utility renames the file named by the source
operand to the destination path named by the target operand. This form is
assumed when the last operand does not name an already existing directory.
In its second form, mv moves each file named by a source operand to a
destination file in the existing directory named by the directory operand.
The destination path for each operand is the pathname produced by the
concatenation of the last operand, a slash, and the final pathname
component of the named file.
The following options are available:
-f Do not prompt for confirmation before overwriting the destination
path. (The -f option overrides any previous -i or -n options.)
-i Cause mv to write a prompt to standard error before moving a file
that would overwrite an existing file. If the response from the
standard input begins with the character ‘y’ or ‘Y’, the move is
attempted. (The -i option overrides any previous -f or -n
-n Do not overwrite an existing file. (The -n option overrides any
previous -f or -i options.)
-v Cause mv to be verbose, showing files after they are moved.
It is an error for the source operand to specify a directory if the target
exists and is not a directory.
If the destination path does not have a mode which permits writing, mv
prompts the user for confirmation as specified for the -i option.
As the rename(2) call does not work across file systems, mv uses cp(1) and
rm(1) to accomplish the move. The effect is equivalent to:
rm -f destination_path && \
cp -pRP source_file destination && \
rm -rf source_file
The mv utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.
The command "mv dir/afile dir" will abort with an error message.
In legacy mode, the command "mv dir/afile dir" will fail silently,
returning an exit code of 0.
For more information about legacy mode, see compat(5).
Rename file foo to bar, overwriting bar if it already exists:
$ mv -f foo bar
The -n and -v options are non-standard and their use in scripts is not
The mv utility now supports HFS+ Finder and Extended Attributes and
resource forks. The mv utility will no longer strip resource forks off of
HFS files. For an alternative method, refer to cp(1).
cp(1), rm(1), symlink(7)
The mv utility is expected to be IEEE Std 1003.2 (“POSIX.2”) compatible.
A mv command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.
macOS 12.1 March 15, 2013 macOS 12.1