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How to Change the Default Email Client and Web Browser on Your Mac

mac change default browser and mail client

As I continue my now year-old journey as a Mac user, I’ve blogged about a few tips that I’ve stumbled upon, such as how to drag text onto your desktop and change it into a text note, how to reveal the dock and menu bar when using full screen apps in Lion, and how to add folders to the Finder sidebar. Many of these tips are probably “Duh!” moments to seasoned Mac users, but for those of us who come from the Windows world, they aren’t so obvious. It’s time to add another simple but important one to the list – how to change your Mac’s default email client and web browser.

Windows users are accustomed to going to a centralized place to set default programs. On a Mac, to set your default email client and web browser, it’s a bit different. Instead of a system setting pane, you go to Safari settings and the Mail app settings (Safari > Preferences, or Mail > Preferences from your menu bar). In each preference pane, the setting to change the default app can be found in the “General” tab.

Browser settings default app


Mail settings default app

The ability to change the app was important to me. While I find the Mail app to be decent (Sparrow is my favorite, though), I ‘ve decided that Safari needs to be taken out behind the house and shot. I tried to use it as my default browser for about a month, and hated it the entire time. I now use Chrome on my iMac, but I use Firefox on my Macbook Air, due largely to the ability to customize the Firefox interface for a smaller screen. On my Air, I’ve scrunched everything into a compact area.

What browser and mail apps do you use?