I find Keynote 6 in Mavericks to be both a step backwards and a step forwards from Keynote 5. It has some neat new transitions and all, but the iOS-ification (simplification) of the interface, as well as the removal of some key items in the Export to Quicktime command (can't set the exported movie to loop; exports into .m4v format, for instance,) make me want to throw it in the bin. What I am most concerned about, however, is that once Keynote 6 is installed, it appears to hijack the launch services app/doc binding.

When I click on a Keynote document, (version 5 or 6,) Keynote 6 opens as expected. If I 'Get Info' on a Keynote 5 document and use Open with: to select Keynote 5, (either by selecting Keynote 5 from the pulldown list, or by choosing Other... and selecting Keynote 5 from within the /Applications/iWorks folder, that document will open in Keynote 5. This is normal and expected.

Disturbingly, the Change All... button, which is supposed to set the app/doc binding for all .key files, does no such thing when I set a doc to Keynote 5! No .key documents open in Keynote 5 after I execute this command.

Even more disturbing is that at some random time, the specific .key files I individually associated with Keynote 5 will lose this association and revert to opening in Keynote 6!

I've rebuilt the launch services database, verified permissions, etc. This was happening before 10.9.2, as well. I'd like to keep Keynote 6 installed, but it just doesn't seem to play nice.

Any flashes of insight as to why this is happening?


After installation, move the new iWorks apps onto another volume. This prevents the Launch Services 'hijacking' from occurring, allows the use of the new apps, and shuts down the inane update request from Software Update. I've tested this on three separate Macs, and use a Time Machine external drive as the repository for the new apps. Laptop users without perpetually mounted external drives may wish to add the apps into a disk image and mount the image only when needed.

This solution provided by user benwiggy at Mac OS X Hints.


With the release of Yosemite, this problem now recurs. Putting a bounty on a REAL SOLUTION!

  • Intriguing - have you made any headway on this? Is it still happening?
    – bmike
    Jul 28, 2014 at 1:54
  • I have yet to prove definitively that the iWorks apps change the LS database. It appears it does, but I don't have the skills (yet) to poke around and catch them red-handed. I just don't use the new iWorks. I've lived with the inane Software Update daily reminder by just dismissing the pop-up. I read somewhere recently that one can stop this by moving the iWorks 6 apps to an external disk, but I haven't tried it yet.
    – IconDaemon
    Jul 28, 2014 at 14:47
  • See this for removing the update reminder :) apple.stackexchange.com/q/69821/5472
    – bmike
    Jul 28, 2014 at 14:49
  • Have you looked at inspecting and/or editing launch services database? Related: superuser.com/questions/323599/… and superuser.com/questions/305498/…
    – AllInOne
    Nov 26, 2014 at 14:58

1 Answer 1


I don't have a complete answer, but I have seen this as well - as long as Keynote 6.x is installed, I can't set the Open with... to Keynote 5. I've been deleting Keynote 6 from Finder, but unfortunately it comes back every time a Software Update is performed, so it's only a partial solution.

  • Sorry Greg. Been there; done that. :-) You have set Autoupdate ON, which will download the latest software without asking. That's why they keep reappearing.
    – IconDaemon
    Nov 25, 2014 at 20:02

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