Ways to Change Default PDF Viewer on Mac (Update in 2021)

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Sep 14, 2021 • Filed to: Photo/Video/Audio Solutions • Proven solutions



PDF is the most basic and standard file format used to view documents but lacks features to modify text or filling forms, which is why you need an advanced PDF editor app and making it your default PDF viewer on Mac.                                                                

At some point, you may need an alternative PDF viewer for opening, viewing documents, downloading and even organizing your files. Having a viewer that meets your needs in office, while traveling or at home not only saves your time and energy but also gives you satisfaction.

There Those using that have a family, friend or have a Mac device of your own, how will you go about changing the default PDF viewer to one that suits them?

Change Default PDF Viewer on Mac using “Open with” Option

  • Right Click on your computer any PDF
  • Drag your cursor to Open Withwhich displays a grey icon. Go to
  • change-default-pdf-viewer-2

  • Click Enablethen go to Recommended Applicationsto choose the PDF you require to be you default app.
  • In case you cannot be able to locate the PDF viewer you want as your default, select Enablethen go to All Applicationsand choose your preferred Viewer.
  • change-default-pdf-viewer-3

    Note: After completing step 3/4, always check the box beforeAlways Open With


  • Select Opento make your change of your default PDF viewer.
  • Change Default PDF Viewer using Get Info Menu

    Get Info menu is the most universally way that Apple MacOS supports itself and it is being recommended by other authorities worldwide.

    Let us have a look at how we can be able to change the default PDF viewer to Adobe Acrobat, Preview or other PDF readers.

  • On any PDF file; Right click then choose Get Info.
  • change-default-pdf-viewer-5

  • A pop-up dropdown menu is displayed showing general information of the PDF such as name, date created, size etc.
  • From the new window that opens, click Open With You will notice your default application preview usually displayed in grey. If the tab is closed, click the grey arrow below to expand the tab.
  • change-default-pdf-viewer-6

  • Select the application of your choice you’d like to switch to form a list of options that will appear.
  • Click Change Allbutton to make it your default viewer.
  • change-default-pdf-viewer-7

  • Select Continueto confirm.
  • At any time, you can always switch to another default viewer of your choice

    Change Default PDF Viewer During Installation of a New PDF Viewer

    Ensure there in no PDF viewer version has been installed in your computer. In this case we will use Movavi PDF Editor as our example.

    How to Change Default Viewer during installation of a new PDF Viewer

  • Go to Movavi Video Editor on your browser and download installer.
  • On the installer, go to installation wizard to finish installation.
  • change-default-pdf-viewer-8

  • Select Yes on the pop-up box that follows.
  • change-default-pdf-viewer-9

  • Your Movavi PDF Editor will then be set as the default PDF viewer on your Mac.
  • If no other previous PDF viewer has been installed, Adobe Reader becomes the default viewer once it is installed

    Best PDF Readers for Mac to Use in 2021

    The best PDF readers for Mac should not only allow you to just read, but also annotate, edit, convert your files and more on your MacBook or iMac. Sharing of PDF files has become a normal day-to-day online activity worldwide with the PDFs varying in size.

    The reason for this internet wide activity is because:

  • You can read PDF files using different operating systems;
  • The PDF formatting of the original document is usually retained most of the times.
  • PDF files are difficult to edit, preserving the document integrity. This is the reason why confidential documents in the internet are shared using PDF format
  • However, you might need to enhance your PDF reading experience and most especially those of us working in the organizations and who love reading eBooks.

    For this reason, you might require a third-party affiliated PDF reader that incorporates other advanced functionalities to enhance your reading experience. Some of these PDF readers can cost you some dollars yearly.

    I decided to create a list of Mac Only PDF readers as you need a permanent solution to your problem.

    Adobe Acrobat             

    This is the best and most trusted PDF reader you could ever wish for. Adobe keeps you connected with your team wherever they might be.

    Adobe Acrobat reader allows you to connect to Adobe Cloud and other cloud storages like Dropbox, OneDrive and Box allowing you to open, share, view and comment on PDF from any device you want and anywhere. Adobe Reader DC can guide you along the document in case you encounter challenges in reading with the help of read out loud feature.

    Acrobat lets you convert any documents you have to PDF file; take a snapshot of scanned photos or paper and uploading then to into Adobe’s cloud storage as well as editing the scanned documents.

    Considered with other software, Acrobat is relatively expensive because of high integrated capabilities such as it has the ability to detect different versions of the same PDF, ability to edit scanned tables thus it becomes easier analyzing financial data as well as keep track of changes that have been made to PDF documents by you and your team.


    WonderShare developed a PDF reader for Mac version that is positioned as an easy way to have PDF documents edited. It offers you tools to add images, text, links, watermarks, headers and footers and backgrounds to PDF documents and a broad selection of PDF editing options.

    These options allow you to add text to documents, change font size, type and style as well as be able to rotate, replace, extract and crop images too. You are able to add sticky notes, text boxes, comments etc. as well as be able to fill out documents like tax and contract forms.

    PDFelement is a great tool for teams because of these highly powerful capabilities and its professional package. It provides you with the alternative to password-protect your PDF files.

    Unlike Adobe Acrobat, using PDFelement is a free PDF reader and no matter is solicited from you to enhance your PDF reading experience. There is a paid version with more advanced functionalities if you need that’s priced at $ 59.95.   


    Skim is a free open-source PDF reader for OS that is designed to help you add comments on scientific papers in PDF, take note and aid in reading eBooks. Its functionalities have been improved letting anyone to be able to view any PDF file type.

    You can add, edit, highlight texts, view comments/notes among others. Skim supports Spotlight capability enabling you to search text from Spotlight, save passwords and ease of navigation using thumbnails, table of contents and visual history.

    In general, the User Interface is well organized and you can easily navigate about the application.

    Major downsides of this software are that it does not support OCR features thus it is an excellent tool for eBooks reading only; security-risks since it has not been updated since 2017.

    PDF Reader Premium                        

    PDF Reader Pro is one of the most commonly used PDF readers for Apple devices. It functionality is so powerful such that it lets you views your PDFs in multiple tabs, annotate documents with sticky notes and images, sign signatures, organize files using tags and fill forms on the PDF.

    It allows you to have access to features such as an easy to use user interface that allows you to export PDFs to other formats. Compared to other products, PDF Reader Pro is much cheaper.

    You can be allowed to lock files using passwords, Face ID or Touch ID; night mode feature to protect your eyes during reading and PDFs can be represented in slideshows.

    Storing and sharing of PDF documents through cloud services. It is therefore a very suitable program for individuals that frequently use PDF for work.

    However, the program lacks user guidelines which are important especially if you are using the program for the first time; has no ability converting documents to XLS and conversion of data that is stored in tables is challenging.

    This program slows down computers because of the large amount of RAM storage that it uses to operate. It may even cause your computer to crash.


    With many people face challenges trying to read or open PDFs on Mac, now that we have looked at ways in which you can changes the biggest mystery has been solved. However, ensure you have a compatible PDF Viewer installed in your Mac and that your computer meets the system requirements for downloading and installing these programs.

    Incompatible programs make your Mac to use a lot of the computer memory to ensure it keeps on running. Ensure your system is updated frequently as it solves most of your problems.

    Try using PDFelement which is a PDF converter and editor!

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