Change the Default App to Open Up Different File Types in Mac OS X

OS X ships with some great software. There’s iPhoto, iMovie, Pages, Keynote, and Preview that allow you to watch movies, view pictures, edit documents etc. Apple’s design is for you to use your Mac immediately after you start it up for the first time.

However, once you get familiar with your Mac, you’ll realize that there may be some other apps better suited to your needs. For example, iTunes is the default app for playing music, but you might want to use Vox or VLC. If that’s the case, you may be tired of right-clicking the file every time and selecting the alternative program to open it up.

The following are two methods to change the default app in Mac OSX.

Changing the Default App for That Specific File Only

If you want to change the app that the file in question will open with, follow the directions below:

1. Locate the file whose default app you want to change. Right-click (Alt-Click) the file.


2. Press the “Alt” key on your keyboard. This should lead to “Open With” and change to “Always Open Up” as shown below:


3. Choose the app you want to use to open the file.

This will lead OSX to change the app for that specific file only. However, if you want to change the default app for all files of that same type, then follow the directions below:

Change the Default App for All File Types

1. Locate the file and right-click (Alt click) on the icon. Click on “Get Info.”


2. Click on the “Open with” tab. The Open with section shows the current app that this file type uses, and clicking on it reveals a drop-down menu that hosts the different application types you can choose. Click on it to reveal the drop-down menu.

3. Select the application you want to use to open the file type. If your application is not in this list, select “Other” at the bottom of the list to browse through all your applications on your Mac.


4. Once you’ve selected your application, click on “Change All” for all the changes to come into effect. Select “Continue” on the pop-up menu that appears.



Now that you have changed the default application for any given file type, each time you open that file type your new chosen application will be used. You can, of course, change this at any time by following the instructions in this article again.

Shujaa Imran
Shujaa Imran

Shujaa Imran is MakeTechEasier's resident Mac tutorial writer. He's currently training to follow his other passion become a commercial pilot. You can check his content out on Youtube

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