How to associate file extensions on Mac and batch association application “SwiftDefaultApps”

Updated : Dec 06, 2021

Double-clicking a file on your Mac will open the app that is set by default, but I will show you how to change this setting.

There are two methods to do this, one is to use the Mac standard function and the other is to use the app “SwiftDefaultApps”.

Advantages and disadvantages of the two methods

MethodAdvantageDisadvantage
① Mac standard function・Can be used
with Mac standard function
・It is necessary to open
the setting screen
for each file type and set it
② App “SwiftDefaultApps”・Multiple file types
can be set collectively
on one screen
・It cannot be used
when the installation of apps
is prohibited, such as
at companies and schools

① How to change the default open app with only Mac standard function

If you right-click on a file in the Finder, a menu will be opened.

① In the list of apps displayed in “Open With”, the app written as (default) at the top is the default app (the app that opens by double-clicking on the left).

② Select “Get Info” to display the file information.

Mac Finder Right-click menu
Click to enlarge

When the information window is displayed, select the app you want to use by default from the apps listed in ③ “Open with this application”.

After that, if you click the ④ “Change All…” button, all files with the same extension and file format will be opened in the set app.

Mac file info
Click to enlarge
Mac file info
Click to enlarge

This is the end of the explanation, “① How to change the default open app with only Mac standard function”

② How to change the default open app with “SwiftDefaultApps”

Previously, the app named “RCDefaultApp” was the default standard.

However, it stopped working from macOS 10.12 Sierra released in 2016, and the official website of the app has already been closed.

Currently, “Swift Default Apps”, which was developed to replace this app, is the default standard.

Therefore, from here, I will introduce in detail how to install and use “Swift Default Apps”.

②-1 How to install SwiftDefaultApps

▶ Click the link below to open the official GitHub site.

▶ Open the site and download the latest version of the ZIP file.

By the way, the ZIP file is named “SwiftDefaultApps-v ~ .zip” (~ is the version number).

As an example, the screen below is as of December 6, 2021, but since the ZIP file indicated by the arrow ① is the latest version, download it.

SwiftDefaultAppsのGitHubサイト
Click to enlarge

▶ After downloading the ZIP file, double-click it to extract (decompress) it.

SwiftDefaultAppsのZIP

▶ When the ZIP is unzipped (decompressed), a folder will be created, so open the folder.

SwiftDefaultAppsのZIP展開後のフォルダ

▶ As shown in the screen below, there is a “SwiftDefaultApps.prefpane” file in the folder, so double-click it to start the installation.

SwiftDefaultAppsのZIP展開後のフォルダの中身

▶ When the installation confirmation screen appears as shown in the screen below, select ① “Install for this user only” and ② click the “Install” button.

Mac Install confirmation
Click to enlarge

▶ When the installation is completed, the icon ① will be added for a moment, and the screen will immediately switch to the SwiftDefaultApps setting screen.

Mac "System Preferences"
Click to enlarge

【Setting Screen】

Mac "System Preferences" -> "SwiftDefaultApps"
Click to enlarge

This is the end of the explanation, “How to install”.

I will continue to explain “How to use”.

②-2 How to use SwiftDefaultApps

I will explain how to use it from here, but since technical terms such as those used by programmers appear on the setting screen of “SwiftDefaultApps” and it is difficult for general users to understand, I will explain with a concrete example with an emphasis on comprehensibility.

As a concrete example, try changing the default app that opens a text file with the extension txt as follows.


【Before the change】

Mac genuine app “TextEdit.app”

Mac "TextEdit.app"

【After the change】

Free app “CotEditor.app”

CotEditor.appのアイコン

“CotEditor.app” is available from the Mac App Store linked below.

From here, I will explain how to use it.

▶ Select ① “SwiftDefaultApps” from “System Preferences” on your Mac.

Mac "System Preferences"
Click to enlarge

▶ When the following screen opens, ① Click “Applications” from the tab at the top of the screen.

Next, from the application list on the left, click ② “TextEdit” and make sure that ③ “public.text” is checked.

In addition, make sure that ④ “public.plain-text” is also checked.

What this does is check the file format assigned to “TextEdit”.

Mac "System Preferences" -> "SwiftDefaultApps"
Click to enlarge
Mac "System Preferences" -> "SwiftDefaultApps"
Click to enlarge

▶ Next, ① Click “Uniform Type Identifiers” from the tab at the top of the screen.

Next, from the file type list on the left, click ② “public.text” and change the check mark from ③ “TextEdit.app” to “CotEditor.app”.

What this is doing is changing the app assigned to the file type “public.text”.

Mac "System Preferences" -> "SwiftDefaultApps"
Click to enlarge

▶ If the change is successful, “Success” will appear as shown in the screen below, so click the “OK” button.

Mac "System Preferences" -> "SwiftDefaultApps"

▶ Similarly, change “public.plain-text”.


【Before the change】

Mac "System Preferences" -> "SwiftDefaultApps"
Click to enlarge

【After the change】

Mac "System Preferences" -> "SwiftDefaultApps"
Click to enlarge

Little devil fox
Little devil fox

Was it a little difficult?

The point is to check the “Uniform Type Identifiers” assigned to the application on the tab “Applications”.

With that in mind, “Uniform Type Identifiers” is like a file extension.

Reference information

The following is Apple’s official website.

It shows how to change the app that opens the file temporarily and how to change it permanently.

Macでファイルを開くアプリケーションを選択する
MacのFinderで、ファイルを開く特定のアプリケーションを選択します。

This is the end of this article.

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