When I'm opening .avi files, I want to open them with VLC Media player, when right clicking the item, I see this:

enter image description here

As you can see QuickTime is the default player, I want to change it to VLC, so I change it:

enter image description here

After changing it, every .avi I open gets opened by VLC, however, when I reboot my Mac, the default goes back to QuickTime... how do I prevent this and keep VLC as the default.

3 Answers 3


I was doing it the wrong way like you try to for a long time and also have retreated to using RCDefaultApp in the past... but there's actually a way to do that natively which works.

Do the following:

1) right click your file 
2) choose "Get Info"
3) in the popup find the "Open with" strip (this is by default closed) and open it
4) from the drop down choose the program you want to open that type of file
5) click "Change all..."

And that's the correct way to do it

  • Aha. Good find.
    – MacMac
    Feb 8, 2012 at 0:43
  • 3
    What a UX disaster... this same bug is present even in the latest iOS version. I couldn't figure it out without this post. Apr 1, 2019 at 5:05
  • Had to reboot my laptop just to be sure this answered really earned the upvote. Worth it. Jun 23, 2020 at 9:53
  • This works for me in Big Sur 11.2.3
    – Padmal
    Apr 21, 2021 at 17:46

There's a great preference pane RCDefaultApp. It should do what you want.

RCDefaultApp is a Mac OS X 10.2 or higher preference pane that allows a user to set the default application used for various URL schemes, file extensions, file types, MIME types, and Uniform Type Identifiers (or UTIs; MacOS 10.4 only). MacOS X uses the extension and file type settings to choose the application when opening a file in Finder, while Safari and other applications use the URL and MIME type settings at other times for content not related to a file (such as an unknown URL protocol, or a media stream).

  • This preference pane looks good - thanks for that.
    – MacMac
    Feb 7, 2012 at 22:57

For anyone Googling for the same issue: as the venerable RCDefaultApp is now broken under 10.12 and later, there's a open-source equivalent SwiftDefaultApp

This Preference pane is chiefly intended to be a modern replacement for the amazing RCDefaultApp developed way back when by Carl Lindberg, which stopped working in 10.12 due to deprecation of ObjC Garbage collection


This Preference pane will let you view and change default application associations for basically any URI Scheme and/or filetype in macOS.

The UI is practically identical to RCDefaultApps, exception that "Extensions" (i.e. file extensions) is now rolled into "Uniform Type Identifiers", and it can be a little harder to find a specific extension. However, it works beautifully, both as a solution to the issue and as a replacement for RCDefaultApp.

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