New to Mac? How to change the default app to open a file type

Change Default File Open App Mac

Your Mac is pretty smart when it comes to opening files like documents and images. So when you double-click to open something, it will open that item in what it believes to be the correct and preferred app. But there could be times when you want your items to open in a different app each time.

You may want your images to open in a specific photo editing app rather than Preview or have spreadsheets open in Excel instead of Numbers. These are just a couple of examples and there are plenty more situations like these.

If you are a new Mac user and not sure how to make it happen, here’s how to change a file type’s default app when you open it.

Change the default app when opening

When you want to change the default app for a file you’re opening, you can do this in a couple of clicks.

1) Right-click or hold Control and click the file. Or, click File from the menu bar.

2) Select Open With and then pick Other.

Open With Other on Mac

3) You’ll see a drop-down box for Enable which defaults to Recommended Applications. If the app you want is grayed out at the top, choose All Applications in this box. Then pick your application and click Open.

4) Mark the checkbox below Enable for Always Open With.

5) Click Open.

Always Open With on Mac

Note: If you don’t see the Enable or Always Open With box, click the Options button on the bottom left corner and they will display.

Change the default app with Get Info

In addition, you can change the default app for files types using the shortcut menu by following these steps.

1) Right-click or hold Control and click the file.

2) Select Get Info.

3) Go down to Open with, click the drop-down box, and pick your application. If you don’t see it, click Other.

Get Info Open With Other on Mac

If you choose Other, you’ll see a list of your applications set to Recommended Applications by default. Again, if the app you want is grayed out, choose All Applications. Then pick your application and click Add.

4) Back in the Get Info window, click the button for Change All.

5) You’ll see a pop-up message letting you know that the change will apply to all documents with that extension. If you’re sure, click Continue.

Change All on Mac

You can then close the Get Info window.

Wrapping it up

Changing the default application for opening documents, images, videos, or another type of file is easy on your Mac.

And for more help if you’re new to Mac, check out how to change the mouse and trackpad speed or how to use Split View on a MacBook.

Do you have any tips like this to share with other Mac newbies? If so, feel free to comment below or ping us on Twitter.