Get Rid of Unnecessary Apps in Your “Open With” List [Mac]

The littlest of problems can become the biggest of annoyances. This is exactly the case when the Finder menu’s “Open With” option starts to fill up with unnecessary programs. It’s not going to slow down the speed or power of your Mac, it’s not going to keep you from being able to complete the task at hand, but it’s just straight up obnoxious to see the list stretch down to the bottom of the screen.

mac-openwith

From programs that aren’t even for a given file type to apps that you no longer use, it doesn’t matter what it is if it’s still lodged within the “Open With” menu and is keeping you from getting to the choice you actually want. Luckily, there are ways to get rid of those excessive options.

First things first, you’re going to want to understand how these programs get on this list. It’s auto-generated by your Mac based on the applications you have installed. That’s a handy feature, except for it doesn’t update very often. That means even if a program is technically useful for a given purpose, you may not use it any longer or may have a preferred choice.

There are two approaches you can take to ridding yourself of these apps: Start from scratch or eliminate them one by one.

To start, you’re going to need to find the proper folder. Open up “Home -> Library -> Preferences”. From here, you’ll need to find a file named “com.apple.LaunchServices“. Take it and trash it. You don’t need that crap! Well, it’ll regenerate. So technically you do need it. But it’ll clear out the list and start from scratch with only the programs that you currently have installed. Any time you need the list refreshed, just trash that buggy little file and start over.

If you’re a little more precise with your “Open With” menu and just want to get rid of a few selections that you’ll never select to use, that’s more than doable as well. This is an excellent choice if you’re planning to hang on to an application but won’t be using it for certain file types. For example, QuickTime player can handle tons of file types but you’re probably not going to use it for JPEG.

Taking care of things this way will take a little more time, as you’ll have to go app by app. Start by finding a given application you’d like removed from a list and right-click it. Select “Show Package Contents” from the menu that appears. From within the app bundle, open the “Contents” folder. This will hold a file called “Info.plist”. Coincidentally, you’ll have to select an application to open this file with. TextEdit will do the trick but the entire point of this is making your favorite apps more available, so fire up your text editor of choice. Search the text for that resembles the following strand:

<key>CFBundleTypeExtensions</key><array>
<string>txt</string>
<string>srt<string>

This dictates the type of files that the given application is capable of handling based on the suffix. If you don’t want a given file type to be considered for the program, delete it from the line of text. Save the file and close your application, and you should notice the application is no longer listed for the given file type.