Macos – faster way to change default apps associated with file types on OS X


Is there anything more convenient than using RCDefaultApp or Magic Launch, or just repeatedly pressing the Change All buttons in Finder's information panels?

I thought about writing a shell script that would modify the CFBundleDocumentTypes arrays in Info.plist files. But each app has multiple keys (sometimes an icon) that would need to be changed.

lsregister can't be used to make specific modifications to the Launch Services database.

$ `locate lsregister` -h
lsregister: [OPTIONS] [ <path>... ]
                      [ -apps <domain>[,domain]... ]
                      [ -libs <domain>[,domain]... ]
                      [ -all  <domain>[,domain]... ]

Paths are searched for applications to register with the Launch Service database.
Valid domains are "system", "local", "network" and "user". Domains can also
be specified using only the first letter.

  -kill     Reset the Launch Services database before doing anything else
  -seed     If database isn't seeded, scan default locations for applications and libraries to register
  -lint     Print information about plist errors while registering bundles
  -convert  Register apps found in older LS database files
  -lazy n   Sleep for n seconds before registering/scanning
  -r        Recursive directory scan, do not recurse into packages or invisible directories
  -R        Recursive directory scan, descending into packages and invisible directories
  -f        force-update registration even if mod date is unchanged
  -u        unregister instead of register
  -v        Display progress information
  -dump     Display full database contents after registration
  -h        Display this help

Best Answer


  1. Download the pkg installer or compile from source
  2. Save a file like this somewhere:

    com.macromates.textmate all
    com.macromates.textmate public.unix-executable all
    com.macromates.textmate all
    org.videolan.vlc .avi all
    org.videolan.vlc .mkv all
    # ...
  3. duti $file.duti

Finding bundle identifiers or UTIs:

bundleid() {
  osascript -e "id of app \"$*\""

getuti() {
  local f="/tmp/me.lri.getuti.${1##*.}"
  touch "$f"
  mdimport "$f"
  mdls -name kMDItemContentTypeTree "$f"
  rm "$f"


I wrote a Ruby script a lot like duti before I found out about it. It requires restarting the OS to apply the changes though. It also overwrites any external changes to

#!/usr/bin/env ruby

datafile = "#{ENV['HOME']}/Notes/lsapps.txt"
cachedir = "#{ENV['HOME']}/Library/Caches/me.lri.scripts"
cachefile = cachedir + "/lsapps"
`mkdir -p #{cachedir}; touch #{cachefile}`
cachetext =

a = []
IO.readlines(datafile).each do |line|
  next unless line =~ /^([^#].*): (.+)/
  z = $1, $2

  bid = cachetext.scan(/#{z[0]}  (.*)/)[0]
  unless bid
    bid = `osascript -e 'id of app "#{z[0]}"'`.chomp
    next unless bid, "a") { |f| f.puts(z[0] + "  " + bid) }

  z[1].strip.split(" ").each do |e|
    if e =~ /(.+):\/\/$/
      a << "{LSHandlerURLScheme='#{$1}';LSHandlerRoleAll='#{bid}';}"
    elsif e.include?(".")
      a << "{LSHandlerContentType='#{e}';LSHandlerRoleAll='#{bid}';}"
      a << "{LSHandlerContentTag='#{e}';LSHandlerContentTagClass=\

system("defaults", "write", "", "LSHandlers",
"(" + a.join(",") + ")")

`defaults write LSQuarantine -bool false`


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