I wanted to open my video file with VLC, so have opened the 'Choose Application' dialog. The window looks like this:

As the image shows there is a dropdown to select labeled 'Enable'. That dropdown's two options are 'Recommended Applications' and 'All Applications', as shown here:

and, zoomed in, here:

What is the difference between these two options?

I thought that I was choosing this particular application to open this file, and perhaps setting it to open files of this type in the future. What does this dialog have to do with enabling some set of applications, and what am I apparently enabling these applications to do?

What distinguishes the two options, the set of 'Recommended' applications as opposed to 'All'?


With "Recommended Applications", you can only select applications which have declared to be able to open that type of file.

With "All Applications", you can select any application, e.g. open an image in TextEdit (which then will show a lot of strange characters) or a video file in the built-in Chess app (no idea what will happen). This could be necessary if the file format's extension is wrong, or the app is somehow able to open more file types than it declares.

You must log in to answer this question.

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