Change the Default Web Browser in Mac OS X

Apr 6, 2007 - 16 Comments

Updated: 2/8/2013 Sarah R. writes in with a great question about her Macs default web browser:

“I downloaded Firefox and accidentally clicked the button for it to be set as my default web browser. Now every time I open a link it goes into Firefox instead of Safari. How do I get back to Safari as my default? Help!”

This isn’t the first time we’ve been asked about changing the default web browser, so here goes the remarkably simple answer. Do note that making this change will impact all links opened throughout apps in Mac OS X, as all will be redirected to whatever browsing app is set as the default.

Change the Default Web Browser in Mac OS X

Changing the default web browser in Mac OS X is very easy, but regardless of what browser you want to use as default, you adjust the setting through Apple’s web browser, Safari. Here’s the steps:

  • Open Safari
  • From the ‘Safari’ menu, open ‘Preferences’ (or just hit command-,)
  • Click the ‘General’ tab
  • Choose the default web browser you would prefer to use
  • Quit Safari, and you’re done.

Default web browser in Mac OS X

Yes, you use Safari to change the default browser, even if you have no intention on using Safari as the default and instead want to switch the default to Chrome, Firefox, or whatever else.

This process is identical and works for setting the default to Chrome, Firefox, Chromium, Opera, Safari, and just about any other native browser in Mac OS X. Another thing to keep in mind is that most browsers will ask you, often repeatedly on each launch, if you want to set them as the default for the web. Choosing those options within those apps will make the modification for you automatically, though to change it manually at any point you would need to return back to Safari’s Preferences.

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Posted by: David Mendez in Firefox, How to, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

16 Comments

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  1. anon says:

    well this is a no brainer

  2. MJ says:

    maybe she’s never touched a mac before? Also we are here to help remember

  3. Griffo says:

    Why do you want to go back to Safari anyways…???

  4. jose says:

    I downloaded Firefox and I’ve made it my default browser but every time that I restart my mac this setting automatically change to safari.

  5. eddie says:

    Same here. Everytime I restart, the setting reverts back to Safari as being default.

  6. [...] browser to whatever you want via the apps preferences, but if all else fails, you can always just set the default web browser in Mac OS X through Safari (yes, you use Safari to set the default even if you choose not to use Safari as the [...]

  7. [...] You can click and drag any URL in Twitter for Mac to another application, this is particularly helpful if you want to open a URL in a different browser rather than the default. [...]

  8. chandlery says:

    Thanks, I’ve just spent half an hour looking through all the settings and options in firefox! Seems like a bit of a daft place to put this setting.

  9. Brian says:

    I’ll suggest another way with a free preference pane called RCDefaultApp 2.1 http://www.rubicode.com/Software/RCDefaultApp/

  10. Jim says:

    I appreciate the person who asked the question as simple as it may seem to cyber tech folks. The only dumb question is the question not asked and then it’s stupid. One of the things that I do appreciate is the ‘Launch Pad’ on Lion – I have three browsers and have them for specific reasons. All them are very, very different and when Firefox throws that wrench when opening their browser, I just have remember that the cleaver Fox is attempting to break again. Just say NO.

  11. [...] you use Safari as your default web browser, don’t miss it. stLight.options({ [...]

  12. [...] showing up, and it can also slow down Safari on older computers. For those that use Safari as their default browser, speed it up and avoid any potential embarrassment by disabling “Top Sites” from [...]

  13. Pij says:

    It seems that OmniWeb has the same facility.

  14. Liam says:

    i know how to do this, but no other defaults come up?, do i have to download other browsers or are pre set on to the mac?

  15. [...] will cause Gmail to launch in your default web browser, and it carries addresses and subjects forward from email links to the browser just like it would [...]

  16. [...] even more exaggerated since every browser wants to set itself as the default, and then, to go about changing the default web browser after the fact, you have to open Safari and dig around in it’s preferences even if you [...]

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