Changing Default OS X Applications

There are some cases where certain files open in applications not well suited for the current task at hand.

Personally, this happens to me when I create JPGs in Photoshop. Mac OS X naturally wants to open it up in Photoshop. Surely Photoshop can open it (it did create it after all), but for preview purposes it can be a slow process. Opening the file in Preview, on the other hand, can offer a much quicker solution.

Enter DefaultApp, a preference pane that makes system wide default app changes. You no longer have to set the preferred application for each individual file you create. Just set it up once, and forget about ever setting it up. It’s that simple.

DefaultApp Overview

DefaultApp Overview

Types of Application

Default App is capable of handling various different system areas, and is not limited solely to specifying which application should open a particular file type:

  • Internet – Assign which application opens up links to email addresses, RSS feeds, FTP servers, or just common links to webpages.
  • Media – It also can assign which application opens when certain media is attached to you Mac, say a digital camera or blank DVD.
  • Apps – Set any Application as the default opener for specific file types.
  • URLs – Specify what specific URLs open up with which application.
  • Extensions – Assign a default application depending on the files extension.
  • UTIs – Set default apps for which specific file and folder types open.
  • MIME Types – Specify how you would like certain MIME to be opened when you encounter them throughout the internet.

To uninstall DefaultApp, simply navigate to ~/Library/PreferencePanes/ and move DefaultApps.pref to the trash.

Alternative Solutions

A simple alternative is to manually do what DefaultApp does automatically, which may be a better idea when it is a rare occasion when a file opens up in the incorrect application, or one that is less convenient for the current use.

Get Info

Get Info

By simply pressing Ctrl+I with the file selected, you are able to “Get Info” about the file, and in this new window, a section titled “Open With” will allow you to assign a specific Application to open up that certain file, each and every time.

To take it a step further, you can also assign a specific application to open up that file type, by clicking the “Change All…” button.


DefaultApp collects a wide range of different types of file types and their associated applications into one single preference pane resulting in added convenience and utility. This small, yet powerful utility is perfect for those who deal with many types of files and for those who are annoyed by rare but irritating occasions where a simple JPG opens up in Photoshop.

As the app is completely free, it’s something you should try out if you have even the slightest bit of interest in it. Now, is opening a file always a pleasant experience for you? Or is it usually troublesome and tedious process?