How to Change a File Type's Default App in macOS

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Each document that you have on your Mac is associated with a default application which macOS uses to open the file whenever you double-click on its icon in Finder.

    Sometimes you may have a legitimate reason for changing which app your Mac automatically launches when you open a common file type - when a newly installed app assumes control of it, or when you want to open AVI video files in VLC instead of QuickTime, for instance. The following steps show you how to do just that.

    1. In a Finder window, right-click (or Ctrl-click) the file whose default launch app you want to change.
      From the contextual menu, select Open With -> Other....

      A new navigation window will appear for you to select an alternative app to open the selected file. In our example, we're selecting the VLC media player app.

      Tick the checkbox next to Always Open With to ensure your selection applies in future to all files with the same extension (AVI files, in our case). If you don't see the checkbox, click the Options button at the lower left of the window and it should appear.
      Click Open.
    If the app that you want to use to open the file type is greyed out, it's because macOS doesn't think there's a valid association between the two. In most cases this is correct, but you can still override it by changing the Recommended Applications view to All Applications using the Enable: dropdown menu.

    There's another way you can change a file type's associated app in macOS: Right-click (or Ctrl-click) on the file in a Finder window and select Get Info.


    In the information dialog that appears, you should see the Open with: section immediately below the Comments: section (click the chevron buttons to expand individual sections). Select Other... in the drop-down menu of apps to select one not already in the list, and then click Change All... to apply the association to all files with the same extension.

    Article Link: How to Change a File Type's Default App in macOS
  2. Nicksd84 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
  3. danckwerts macrumors regular


    Jun 7, 2008
    Richmond upon Thames
    Is there really anyone who didn't know this already?
  4. Centris 650 macrumors 6502a

    Centris 650

    Dec 26, 2002
    Near Charleston, SC
    There’s always a newbie.
  5. fermat-au macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2009
    Easy, if you have an iPhone switch to Android, if you have an iPad switch to Windows 10.
  6. H3LL5P4WN macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2010
    Pittsburgh PA
    Why would you downgrade?
  7. JosephAW macrumors 68020


    May 14, 2012
    Does this resolve the problem in HS where you open an image and it opens in grab instead of preview? Seems to ignore this feature.
  8. dorsal macrumors regular

    Aug 20, 2002
    When I make this change for Photoshop CC 2018 docs, the change doesn't "stick" and reverts back to the oldest version of PS I have.
  9. nvmls macrumors 6502a


    Mar 31, 2011
    Funny you say MR, although these tips are appreciated, this particular functionality has been bugged for decades.
  10. T Coma macrumors 6502

    T Coma

    Dec 3, 2015
    MAGA Country, Chicago
    Kind of a douchey way to think about it. OSX is loaded with redundant commands, some more complicated than others. I'm still "discovering" alternate and easier commands 8 years into OSX.

    Semi-related: I couldn't keep the file associations from changing on their own until I stopped using Firefox a few months ago. Haven't had a hiccup since.
  11. fairuz macrumors 68000


    Aug 27, 2017
    Silicon Valley
    The equivalent is when you press the share button to open something in another app, in which case it gives you the list.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 19, 2018 ---
    There's always that one app that has the audacity to change itself to the default for a ton of common extensions like mp4 and jpeg. macOS should really ask first before overriding those.
  12. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    Plenty of people don't know about plenty of things that plenty others know about.
  13. philosopherdog macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2008
    Doesn’t always stick. One of those long standing MacOS glitches.
  14. LovingTeddy macrumors 68000


    Oct 12, 2015
    I made the the switch and never regreted once. It is nice to have a phone that can be made personal. Both Android and Windows 10 never failed once. Love both
  15. Nicksd84 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    That’s not the same, but a workaround
  16. marvin_h macrumors newbie


    Aug 6, 2015
    I don’t know about “decades” but yes it is buggy as hell.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 21, 2018 ---
    Sad but true. In fact, for things like mp3 files, I’ve never gotten it to work right.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 21, 2018 ---

    I’m sure that somehow someone thinks that’s a feature. But it sure feels like a bug.
  17. Gravydog316 macrumors 6502


    May 17, 2016
    With High Sierra, I tried changing my default to open images from Preview app to Graphic Converter, but I tried choosing "change all," & it always goes back to the Preview app... buggy with these last few High Sierra beta version.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 22, 2018 ---
    you change what app opens the files
    --- Post Merged, Jun 22, 2018 ---
    It's always worked for me, except with the new High Sierra to open my image files, it reverts to Preview app (haven't tried with other apps/files, though.
    File a bug report.

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