By default, Chrome OS is pretty good at picking the best app for a specific purpose, but sometimes that’s not what you’re looking to do. While you can easily pick apps as you need them, you can also change the default option pretty easily.

Setting Default Apps on Chrome OS

RELATED: How to Set Default Apps on Android

Unlike on Android, where you can set default apps in a central location, you have to open a file in order to change the default for that file type. For this example, we’re going to use an image file, but it should work the same regardless of what you’re trying to open.

Open the file manager and navigate to the file in question, then click on it (single click, not double—that will just open the file, which is not what we’re going for here).

One the right side of the navigation bar, you’ll see an option that reads “Open” with a down arrow beside it. Click the arrow.

A list of available apps will show up, but at the very bottom there’s an option to “Change Default.” Click that.

A smaller list will appear—simply click the option that you’d like to always open this type of file with.

It’s worth noting that some apps aren’t able to be set as default, so you’ll have to launch them manually each time.

Launching Specific Apps on a Per-File Basis

If the app you want to use as default isn’t able to be set as default, or you just want to use a different app for certain tasks, you can also open files in a specific app on a per-launch basis.

Navigate to the file you’d like to open, then click on it.

Click on “Open” on the right side of the navigation bar, then choose the app you’d like to open the file with.

Alternatively, you can right click on the file, then choose “More Actions,” which will open a list of compatible apps with that particular type of file. This method feels a bit faster to me, but your mileage may vary.

Profile Photo for Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is ex-Editor-in-Chief of Review Geek and served as an Editorial Advisor for How-To Geek and LifeSavvy. He covered technology for a decade and wrote over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times.
Read Full Bio »