Switching Default Browser on Mac: Need Help!

I’m trying to set a new default browser on my Mac. I’ve tried multiple times but the settings don’t seem to stick. Can someone guide me through the process or tell me what I might be missing?

Sure thing! Setting a new default browser on your Mac can sometimes stump people if the steps aren’t followed just right or if there’s a glitch. Let’s go step-by-step and also explore a few alternative methods if the usual way doesn’t work.

Method 1: Changing Default Browser through System Preferences

  1. Open System Preferences:

    • Click the Apple logo () in the top-left corner of your screen.
    • Select “System Preferences” from the dropdown menu.
  2. Go to the General tab:

    • Once the System Preferences window opens, click on “General.” It’s usually on the top row of icons.
  3. Set your Default Web Browser:

    • Toward the bottom of the General tab, you’ll see a dropdown menu labeled “Default web browser.”
    • Click this dropdown menu and select your preferred browser from the list. If the browser you want doesn’t appear, make sure it’s installed and try again.

Troubleshooting Tips:

  • Browser Not Appearing: If your desired browser isn’t listed, double-check that it’s installed correctly. Sometimes reinstalling the browser can resolve this issue.
  • Settings Not Sticking: If the setting reverts back to another browser after you close the window, try restarting your Mac and then checking the setting again. Sometimes a system restart is necessary for changes to take effect.

Method 2: Changing Default Browser through the Browser Itself

Many browsers these days have an option within their own settings to set them as the default browser. Here’s how to do it for a few popular ones:

Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome.

  2. Access Settings:

    • Click the three vertical dots in the top-right corner.
    • Select “Settings” from the dropdown menu.
  3. Default Browser Section:

    • Scroll down to the “Default browser” section.
    • Click the button that says “Make default.”

Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox.

  2. Access Preferences:

    • Click the three horizontal lines in the top-right corner (hamburger menu).
    • Select “Preferences.”
  3. Set Default:

    • Go to the “General” tab.
    • Look for the “Startup” section, then click “Make Default…”


Oddly enough, Safari (the default Mac browser) doesn’t have an internal option to make it the default browser because it’s typically the default out of the box. But if you ever switch to another browser and then back to Safari, you’ll do it through the System Preferences as described in Method 1.

Method 3: Changing Default Browser with Terminal Command

For more advanced users, you can also change your default browser using Terminal. This is handy if the normal methods aren’t working for some reason.

  1. Open Terminal:

    • You can find Terminal in Applications > Utilities, or you can use Spotlight (Cmd + Space) and type “Terminal.”
  2. Enter the Command:

    • To set your default browser to Google Chrome, for example, type the following command and press Enter:
      open -a "Google Chrome" --args --make-default-browser
    • Note: Replace “Google Chrome” with the name of your preferred browser, like “Firefox.”
  3. Restart as Needed:

    • Sometimes the changes won’t take effect until you restart your Mac.

Method 4: Using Third-Party Applications

There are also third-party applications designed to manage your default browser settings if the standard methods aren’t cutting it.


  1. Download Browserswitcher:

    • You can find it on websites like MacUpdate or directly from the developer’s site. (Always download software from trusted sources to avoid malware).
  2. Install and Run:

    • Follow the installation instructions, open the app, and then select your preferred default browser from the app’s interface.


  • Easier Management: This can be particularly useful if you regularly switch between multiple browsers for different tasks.

Additional Tips

It’s also a good idea to clear any system issues that might be causing the settings not to stick. Here are a few things to try:

  1. Reset PRAM/NVRAM:

    • Restart your Mac and hold down Option + Command + P + R as it starts up. Keep holding until you hear the startup sound twice. This can clear some system settings that might be causing issues.
  2. Update macOS:

    • Make sure your macOS is up-to-date. Sometimes bugs that affect system settings are fixed in updates. Go to System Preferences > Software Update to check.
  3. Check for Malware:

    • Occasionally, issues with settings not sticking can be due to malware. Use a trusted antivirus or security software to scan and clean your system.

Final Notes

When you change your default browser, remember that some applications or services might still open their choice of browsers for specific tasks. For instance, some email clients are set to open links in a particular browser by default unless you change their internal settings.

That’s it! Hopefully, one of these methods works for you and solves the problem of your Mac not saving your default browser choice. If you run into any roadblocks, feel free to ask more questions. There’s always more than one way to tackle tech issues!