If I click on a .txt file, what exactly happens in order for Mac OS X to open my txt file with the Default Program (TextEdit in my case). In other words where does Mac OS look/what exact steps are involved to determine what my default program is and to open that file ? Where can this look up /process potentially/most likely be broken and how can I troubleshoot if Mac won't open the default program. Not for all programs but for one specific program ?

2 Answers 2


Rebuilding Launch Service Database did the trick:

/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user

More details here:


  • Sorry. Basically TextEdit did not open files with double click anymore (But if launched via Spotlight yes). This seemed such a random error and I wanted to understand the underlying logic of the launch process better. Therefore this question.
    – digit
    Jul 7, 2014 at 15:16

Here are the steps to configure application association in Mac OSX:

  • Find the file type(s) that you want to change the application to open with
  • Get Info about a file that is of that file type, say a .mov
  • Click the ‘Open With’ arrow to expand an application list
  • Choose the application you want all files of this type to open with
  • Click “Change All” and then “Continue” when the confirmation dialog appears

For a visual representation of the above steps, check out:

Change File Associations in Mac OS X

Information source: osxdaily.com

  • Thank you for the notification. I have edited my answer.
    – injector
    Jul 7, 2014 at 16:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .