How to Change the Default Application to Open Files on Your Mac

Alvaro Bernedo

Whenever you double click on any file on your Mac within the Finder, the operating system will by default find the most suitable app to open it and reveal its contents. Most of the time everything will work without issues, but there are other times when your Mac will either not use the ideal app to open a file or will simply not be able to find a suitable app at all.

How To Change Default Apps On Mac

If you have experienced this issue before and would like to know how to solve it, read along. What causes this issue most of the time is that you might have two or more apps that support the type of file that you want to open.

For Example: Some very frequent culprits of this are archiving apps like Winrar or UnRarX, both of which support very similar file types. Another common occurrence is mix-ups between video players like VLC and Quicktime, with the latter opening files only supported by the former.

What you need to do in order to solve this issue is to change the default app for opening certain types of files, or at least choose a different app from the available ones to open a particular file. Follow these steps to learn how to do just that.

Open File with Different Program

Step 1: First, start by locating the file you want to open within the Finder.

Step 2: If you want to open the file with a different app than the one set by default only once, then all you have to do is right-click on the file, click on the Open With option and then select the app you want to use from the list of available programs.

File Open With Select App

Set Default Program for Specific File Types

Step 1: To set a different default app for all files of a certain type, you can also start by locating a file of that type first and then by right-clicking on it. This time though, locate the Get Info option and click on it.

File Get Info

Step 2: This will display the information panel for that particular file. On it, look for the Open with: section located almost at the bottom of the window. If it is not open, click on the small triangle until the information is displayed just like on the screenshot below.

File Information Open With

Step 3: There, you will see a dropdown menu that will display all of the apps that support the file and are capable of opening it. Click on this menu and then select the application that you want to use to open that file type from then on.

If you don’t find the app you are looking for on the list, simply click on Other… to look for one within the Applications folder.

Step 4: Once you select the application you want, click on the Change All… button to apply the changes. Then, confirm your selection on the next window.

Confirm Selection Window

Once you are done, just close the information panel and you will be set to go. From now on, every time you open any file of that type, it will open in the new application you selected.

Also See
#applications#How-to/Guides

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Alvaro Bernedo

Written By

Alvaro Bernedo

Contributor at Guiding Tech