MacOS already comes with some well-thought-of pre-installed apps that are designed to be used for different functions and services. These apps let you use your Mac straight out of the box. However, even though macOS’s exclusive apps are by far some of the most reliable ones to date, each of us tends to have personal preferences. For instance, you might favor using Chrome over Safari for web browsing. In this article, we’ll share with you how to change default apps in Mac to your preferred ones.
In the section labeled Shared web applications, you can change the default application for web browsing to Open all web pages in Windows, Mac, or in the default for each OS.
What Are Default Mac Apps?
Default apps are the programs that automatically launch when you perform an action on your Mac. For example, if you haven’t installed and set up a different browser yet, any web link you click will open on Safari, Apple’s proprietary web browser. To give you an idea, here are some of the most basic pre-installed apps you may find on your Mac:
- App Store
- DVD Player
- Game Center
- QuickTime Player
- Time Machine
Some of these apps are indispensable, such as Automator and Time Machine. On the other hand, some are plainly extras that you can live without, such as Game Center and Launchpad. Meanwhile, there are those apps that are actually quite useful, but can be substituted by other apps that may do the job better. These include iBooks, QuickTime Player, Mail, Maps, and as exampled earlier, Safari. If you want to use another app in place of the default apps in Mac, you have two options: temporarily use a different app or permanently change the default app for specific functions.
Temporarily Using Another App To Perform A Task
It is straightforward and won’t require you to tinker with your Mac’s settings in any way. To try doing this, do the following steps:
- Download the app you want to use. For instance, VLC Player for playing movies and other video files. If you already have it, go to the next step.
- Open Finder. Look for the file you want to play. Right-click on it. On the menu, select Open With. The list of usable apps relevant to the file will appear. You will see the default app at the top of the list.
- Select the alternative app you want to use. The file will now open in that app.
How To Change The Mac Default App Settings
If you think you’re going to use alternative apps for a long time, it’s better to just set them up as default apps instead of doing the method above every single time. However, keep in mind that you can’t change default app settings in one go. But, don’t worry. Switching default apps shouldn’t take long. What’s good about this is you can always change your default apps.
Changing Default Browser
Mac Os Default App
Safari is the default browser for all Apple devices. If you have installed other browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Opera, you probably got a message asking to make them your default browser. If you ignored that request before, you could make any of them your default browser now.
- Go to System Preferences > General.
- Locate Default Web Browser.
- Click the drop-down menu to see the available browsers that can be set as default.
- Click on your browser of choice to set it as default.
Changing Default Email App
Apple’s Mail app is pretty straightforward and easy to use. However, for some, it can be too honest that it lacks some cool features that other email apps have. To switch from Mail to another email app you’ve downloaded and installed, do these:
- Open the Mail app. Go to Mail > Preferences.
- Find Default Email Reader. Click it to open the list of other email clients on your mac.
- Select the email app you want to use.
Changing Default Apps For Various Types Of Files
You can also change the default app or program to open certain file types, such as photos and videos. Here’s how:
- Open Finder. Right-click on the file you want to open a different app.
- On the menu, click Get Info.
- A box will appear. Find “Open with:” Click it.
- Click the drop-down menu to choose a new default app.
- Click Choose All. Now, all files of that type will open on your newly set default app.
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Your Mac is smart – it has an app for each of your actions. Clicking on a text doc will open Pages and playing media content will take you to QuickTime. But what if you could make it even smarter by choosing the apps responsible for all actions? Well, you can.
How to change default programs on a Mac
To customize defaults for specific files:
- Right-click on a file.
- Select Get Info > Open with.
- Click on Change All to make the selected app default.
Similarly, you can replace defaults for other utilities on a Mac. To pick a custom email client, go to Mail Preferences, select Default Mail Reader and click on the app in the drop-down menu.
Setapp apps that replace Mac’s defaults
Change default application, replacing them with more cutting-edge alternatives and see how your casual Mac environment evolves into an incredible space for productive work. Here’s an ideal app switching plan:
Simplified activity monitoring with iStat Menus
So here’s the truth about Activity Monitor – it’s just too complicated. You have to sit and scroll through tons of data to figure out why your Mac is misbehaving or how to optimize battery use. In contrast, iStat Menus is a minimalist app that adds only 9 icons to your menu bar. And guess what, they give you all the insights about Mac’s performance in seconds. Look no further.
QuickTime alternative: Elmedia Player – take better care of your media content
The default media player on Mac is called QuickTime – a simple, free solution that handles Apple’s preferred media formats seamlessly. So when you get a new Mac and want to play any content, QuickTime would be the program that opens your media file – in case the file is supported.
If you’re already thinking about an alternative that supports all types of files, including AVI and WMV, we don’t judge you. In fact, we have a good suggestion. Elmedia Player supports virtually any type of media content as well as allows you to download files from YouTube and watch online videos without ads.
A custom dock on a Mac with uBar
Dock is big. Of course, this part of your screen is super important, but not exactly functional. Look at your Dock right now. Do you need all the items you see there? Most likely, 10% of the Dock apps are those you used yesterday and forgot to hide. uBar makes your Dock shrink, adding lots of precious space to Mac’s screen. Customize the look of your custom dock once, enjoy an improved Mac environment always.
Finder alternative: Enhance file management with ForkLift and DCommander
Your starting point to everything on a Mac. That’s how you can describe Finder. It could seem you're so used to Mac’s native file manager, there’s no chance you ever betray it. But with extra features at stake, think twice.
The beauty of ForkLift, an alternative file manager app for Mac, is that it’s pretty similar to Finder in terms of the flow. Only with extra capabilities. You can customize file visibility, compare files right from the toolbar, and create presets for renaming files.
Another alternative to the old good Finder is DCommander. If you’re looking for a pro-level file manager with superior batching capabilities, this is the one. From checksums to HEX viewer, the app gives you all the details about your files. The interface might look overwhelming for a beginner, but it’s worth mastering.
Personal assistance on a Mac in human terms
Lacona is basically an ideal version of Siri – faster, more accurate, and customizable. Unlike Mac’s default virtual assistant, Lacona has excellent natural language processing capabilities. This means you can ask anything in plain language –from launching an app to reminding you about someone’s birthday – and get an answer instantly. Ensure your Mac gives you the best assistance possible.
BusyCal, a better version of Mac’s Calendar
A superb substitute for Apple’s native Calendar, BusyCal adds all the perks you’ve been missing in the default app. Integrate live weather forecast, fully customize the feel and look of a calendar, add graphics and to-dos.
While BusyCal clearly wins in functionality, it’s also pretty expensive if you buy a single app – $49.99. There’s an option to test the calendar with a free 30-day trial or get it as a part of Setapp’s subscription.
Apple Mail alternative: Replace your default email client with Canary Mail
Half the workday. That’s an average estimate of how much time people spend in their email apps. If you think about it, your productivity pretty much depends on your email flow and the tools supporting this flow. Apple’s default email client does a good job in case you’re not bombarded with emails every day. If you have to act on most of the emails though, you might want to change the default. And get Canary Mail.
The app aligns your inbox with daily tasks – a get-things-done solution. You can drag emails right from the inbox into a to-do list or follow-ups, as well as track read activity. Integration with Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud makes it easy to transfer data. To accelerate your email workflow even more, you can store ready-to-use templates and signatures in the app.
CleanShot for clean screenshots
If you’re a Mac user, Command-Shift-4 is the extension of your hand. Keyboard shortcuts for taking screenshots in macOS are relatively easy to keep in mind. So you don’t have to puzzle about how to capture a portion of the screen, a menu, or a window.
But that’s just a fraction of what you can do with screen recording software. From annotations to custom wallpaper, there are tons of other goodies to benefit from. CleanShot is a small app that has most of them. Apart from the basic screen recording toolkit, CleanShot adds a special superpower to your menu bar – you can toggle desktop icons and set any background for your screenshots. The app also has a Quick Access Overlay menu, which allows you to edit, save, and share your captures right away. Download nook app for macbook.
Archive Utility alternative: Create, split, and protect archives with Archiver
Mac os x sierra upgrade mail.app user mailbox missing. Just in case you didn’t know, there’s Archive Utility on your Mac – a small hidden tool that allows to create and expand archives. But more importantly, there’s a world-class app that does way more. Here’s what you get with Archiver if you use it instead of the default utility:
- RAR, Stuflt, Zip, and many more archive formats available in one click.
- Preview archives and selectively unzip specific files.
- Create split archives.
- Protect sensitive data by encrypting your archives.
- Unpack multiple archives simultaneously.
Alternative to Time Machine: Get Backup Pro to backup like a pro
Launch Time Machine, click to backup, hope your data is safe. That’s how we’re used to protecting files on a Mac. Bad news: If you rely on the default utility only, your data might be in danger. It’s always better to use at least two tools, so that when you’re backing up to an external drive with Time Machine, there’s also a utility for running regular backups. Or, you can use Get Backup Pro. The app allows to decide which units to backup as well as runs scheduled procedures – two birds with one stone.
Apple Notes alternative: Distraction-free text editing with Ulysses
Like most word processing programs, Apple’s native Pages have one drawback – they fail to get a creative into the right flow. Writing is a fragile process and requires a perfect environment. The things like font customization, distractive menus, and folders kill all the vibe. Ulysses helps you get rid of the problem by switching to a plain text editor that’s all about you and your creation. Write non-stop, format, and publish right from the app.
From a Mac file opener to a ZIP reader, the choice of replacements for Apple’s defaults is huge. The curated collection we’ve brought to you in this article is a great place to start if you want to upgrade your Mac’s capabilities – get the whole pack with a Setapp subscription or test specific apps for free.