How to Change Default PDF Viewer [Desktop & Mobile]

5 min readJun 8, 2022



In this post, we elaborate on how to change your default PDF viewer on different operating systems. Once you save the changes to set another PDF program as the default, you won’t be puzzled by such a similar question. Take a closer look at how to set other software as your default PDF program.

How to Change Default PDF Viewer on Windows

There are generally two methods to change your default PDF settings on Windows, namely File Explorer and Control Panel.

By File Explorer

You may not know what the File Explorer is, but I bet that you must have already used it in daily life. This is the file management application on Windows to browse folders and files. Windows users can then access all the files quickly and easily. Here’s the guide to changing the default PDF viewer in the File Explorer:

Step 1: Navigate to any PDF in your local folder and right-click on the file;

Step 2: Scroll down to select Open with;

Step 3: In the drop-down menu of the Open with, click Choose another app;

Step 4: When a new window pops up, choose the PDF program you want to set, and tick the box Always use this app to open .pdf files.

By Control Panel

The Control Panel on your Windows OS is the system software to manage various computer hardware and change system settings. This method may seem a bit complicated, but don’t worry. The detailed guide will walk you through how to use your control panel to change the default PDF settings:

Step 1: Double-click on the Control Panel on your desktop;

Step 2: Type Default Programs on the search bar;

Step 3: Select Associate a file type or protocol with a program, then move your mouse to click Choose default apps by file type;

Step 4: Search for .pdf and click on the icon to change the default settings.

Honestly, we have an easier way to set your liked PDF program as the default viewer. For instance, if you’d like to set SwifDoo PDF as the default PDF viewer on Windows 10, 8, and 7, just launch the program and navigate to the Help tab to choose Settings > General > General Options > Set as the Default PDF Viewer. If you haven’t heard of SwifDoo PDF before, now at least you know the name from this post.

SwifDoo PDF is a comprehensive PDF application on Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7. With a broad spectrum of tools, it is designed to solve all your PDF-related problems with the least effort. From editing, converting, page arrangement, and document protection, SwifDoo PDF has considered all your fundamental needs.

Free Download

How to Change Default PDF Viewer on Mac

Preview is the default PDF viewer on Mac, and apparently, it is far from being an all-around PDF program. The lack of the ability to edit on PDF may necessitate a dedicated PDF tool for Mac users. If you need to change the default PDF viewer Preview to any alternative one, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Right-click on any PDF;

Step 2: Select Get Info to access the property of this PDF document;

Step 3: When a new pop-up displays, navigate to Change All > Continue to set another app as the default PDF viewer.

Optionally, Mac users can right-click on a PDF to choose “Open With” to choose the desired default PDF program.

How to Change Default PDF Viewer on Mobile Phones

PDF is a device-agnostic file format, as we all know, and consequently, it has long been utilized to distribute documents across different platforms. When mobile phones have become an indispensable element, we may occasionally receive and read PDF files on mobile phones.

No matter whether you are using iOS or Android phones, the mobile devices are always equipped with a default PDF viewer. Since the default programs are not the most professional programs and some of you may have no clue of how to set the default program, in this part, we will provide the step-by-step guide in the following paragraphs:

On iPhone

Sorry for iPhone users, it is not allowed to set a third-party application as the default PDF viewer. Nevertheless, they can open a PDF document directly or browse the file via a PDF viewer by clicking on the “Share” button.

On Android

If you are fans of Xiaomi, Samsung, or any other Android brand, changing the default PDF viewer is not a complicated task. Have a glimpse of how to switch the default PDF viewer on Android:

Step 1: Navigate to the PDF document in your file manager. In case there are too many different types of files in it, try using the search bar to save your time;

Step 2: Press the file long enough to see a drop-down menu. Select More or More Options to choose Open with or Open with another application;

Step 3: When all the PDF applications appear, click the one you’re into. Usually, you will be prompted to set the default programs, don’t forget to tick Remember my choice or Always to change your default PDF viewer on Android devices.

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I’m fascinated by the influence of evolving technologies, computer software/hardware as well as social behavioral norms.