How to change default apps in OS X

When you double-click on a document in the Mac's Finder, an application will automatically open it. But different apps can open the same kind of documents, and somewhere down the road, you may want to change the default opening behavior of specific document types. How can you control which app opens your document?

Double-clicking documents elicits pretty reliable behavior on the Mac: an app will automatically open and load the document so you can view it. When you only have the apps your Mac came with, or maybe a few extras, this isn't so bad: You can pretty much expect the Mac to do what you want to when you double-click.

But maybe you've installed a new music app, and all of a sudden it's taken over opening all of your music files. Or maybe that new text editing app is one that you really want to use for all of your plain text files. Or you have a lot of JPEG images you've created with Adobe Photoshop, but since you installed Pixelmator you'd like that to be your default editing tool.

Whatever the reason, you have the control.

How to change default apps in OS X

  1. Go to the Mac's Finder.
  2. Find the file type you'd like to open with a specific app, and select it.
  3. Click on the File menu and select Get Info.
  4. Expand Open with: by clicking on the triangle to the left.
  5. Select the Open with: menu, then choose the app you'd like to use to open all documents like that one.
  6. Click the Change All... button.
  7. You'll get a dialogue box asking you to confirm your choice. Click Continue.
  8. Close the Get Info window.

Open with

Change all


Now, double-clicking on those files will cause the new application to open, instead of what happened before.

That's pretty much all there is to it. Let me know if you have any questions!