Change the default app that opens files in iOS and iPadOS

2 min readJun 5, 2024


Since the new iPads were introduced a couple of weeks ago there has been a lot of chatter about what one can and can’t do on an iPad. One of the complaints I encountered was about not being able to set a default app to open certain file types in iPadOS. You know one of those posts about why someone can’t use an iPad.

Well, there is a way sorta. Let’s take a .txt file. The most common files that regular users have are .txt .md or .pdf. The last app to open a file type will be the default until you open it with a different app. Here’s how it works:

For example, to change the default app that opens a .txt file on your iPad, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Files app and find the .txt file you want to change the default app for.
  2. Tap and hold the .txt file until a menu appears, then select “Share.”
  3. In the share sheet, you’ll see a list of apps that can open the .txt file. Choose the app you want to use.
  4. The file will open in the selected app. From now on, whenever you open a .txt file, your iPad will remember this preference.

My preference for .txt and .md files is to open in 1Writer and .pdf files to open in the default Preview in iPadOS.

Remember, iOS doesn’t have a universal way to set a default app for file types, but this method works for accessing files with your preferred app. This works the same way in iOS on iPhone.




I'm ldstephens, a tech blogger since 2015, sharing my insights on Apple and general tech news. Subscribe: