How to Switch the Default Browsers in Mac OS X

I had to switch the default browsers in my Macbook Pro, for a better organized work - as I usually work in Safari Browser for all my official tasks, and Firefox for my personal works.

I knew that the switching of the default browser is typically a manual work, where you should specify the browser of your choice in the list available in the “Default web browser” section under the “Desktop & Dock” menu item in the Settings Window of the Mac OS.

Mac OS X - Settings Window - Desktop & Dock Menu

We get the default browser what is set.

Apple Mac OS X - Desktop Browser Settings

Mac OS X - Settings Window - List of Browsers

Apple Mac OS X - Browser List

desktopbrowser utility

Install the utility

We have a new utility called desktopbrowser which can be installed with the help of the brew command as follows.

brew install desktopbrowser

Once it gets successfully installed, you can verify the installed location through the whereis and which commands, which will tell you where the binary is located in the System if there is match.

➜  macosx-default-browser git:(master) ✗ whereis defaultbrowser
defaultbrowser: /opt/homebrew/bin/defaultbrowser
➜  macosx-default-browser git:(master) ✗ which defaultbrowser
➜  macosx-default-browser git:(master)

Invoke the utility

Executing or invoking the utility is very straightforward and simple.


defaultbrowser <nameOfBrowser>

Example To invoke the Firefox browser, you can specify.

defaultbrowser firefox

Note: We can use chrome, safari etc., to supply as an argument to invoke the browser.

DesktopBrowser Utility - Command with Argument

I made a custom shell script with a meaningful name to keep the arguments saved.

Apple Mac OS X -Default Browser - Switch

A very nice thing is that it prompts the user to confirm the switch of the default browser, and it will get a quick confimation on the dialog box.

However, no matter what your choice is, there is no further message to the user. It is silently registered.

Raghavan alias Saravanan Muthu
18 Jun 2023 | Sun | 18:26:09 PM IST