How to set Preview as the default app on Mac?

Hi everyone, I accidentally changed the default app for opening PDF files and now they open with a different app instead of Preview. I really prefer using Preview for its simplicity and features. Can someone guide me on how to set Preview as the default app again? Thanks!

Hey there! Ah, it’s annoying when that happens, right? But don’t worry, it’s pretty simple to get Preview back as your default app for opening PDFs. I’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to do it. We’ll cover a few different methods to make sure you have everything you need, regardless of your preference. Let’s dive in!

Method 1: Changing Default App Using Finder

  1. Find a PDF File:
    First, locate any PDF file on your Mac. It doesn’t matter which one; you just need a PDF to start with.

  2. Right-Click (or Control-Click) the PDF:
    Once you’ve found your PDF, right-click on it. If you don’t have a right-click on your mouse, you can use the Control key and click to get the same menu.

  3. Select “Get Info”:
    From the dropdown menu that appears, click on “Get Info”. This will bring up information about the file.

  4. Find the “Open with” Section:
    In the “Get Info” window, look for the section labeled “Open with”. You might need to click the arrow icon to expand this section if it’s not already visible.

  5. Choose Preview from the Dropdown Menu:
    You’ll see a dropdown menu listing all the apps you can use to open PDF files. Click on this menu and select “Preview”.

  6. Click “Change All…”:
    Right below the dropdown, there’s a button that says “Change All…”. Click this button to apply your preference to all PDF files, not just this one.

  7. Confirm the Change:
    A prompt will pop up asking if you’re sure you want to make the change. Go ahead and click “Continue”.

And that’s it! Now all your PDFs will automatically open with Preview.

Method 2: Using System Preferences

  1. Open System Preferences:
    Click on the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences” from the dropdown menu.

  2. Navigate to the “General” Tab:
    In System Preferences, open the “General” tab.

  3. Check “Default Web Browser” Settings:
    Okay, this is a bit of a detour. Even though it says “Default Web Browser,” this area usually helps solve similar issues with other default apps. Unfortunately, macOS doesn’t have a specific section for default app settings beyond this.

Method 3: Third-Party Utility App

If the previous methods don’t work for you, there are third-party apps specifically designed to manage your default apps. One popular choice is “RCDefaultApp,” though it hasn’t been updated for recent macOS versions. Still, it’s worth a try if you’re dealing with older systems. Another app is “Default Folder X.”

  1. Download and Install the App:
    Go ahead and download the app that fits your system. Install it by following the on-screen instructions.

  2. Set Preview as Default:
    Open the utility app and use its interface to set Preview as the default app for opening PDFs. Each utility app will have its own way of doing this, usually through a straightforward menu system.

Method 4: Terminal Command (Advanced Users)

  1. Open Terminal:
    If you’re comfortable with using Terminal, open it from the Applications > Utilities folder.

  2. Run the Command:
    Paste and run the following command:

    /usr/bin/defaults write LSHandlers -array-add '{LSHandlerContentType= "com.adobe.pdf"; LSHandlerPreferredVersions={LSHandlerRoleAll=""; }; LSHandlerRoleAll= "";}'
  3. Restart Your System:
    This will set Preview as the default app for PDFs. Restart your system to make sure the changes take effect.

And that’s all there is to it! Whichever method you choose, you should now be all set with Preview as your default app for opening PDFs. It’s usually a quick and easy fix once you know where to look. If none of these methods work for you, double-check that your macOS and Preview app are both current and updated, as sometimes outdated software can cause these settings to misbehave. Good luck!

Feel free to fire away with any other questions you might have. I’m here to help!