When Safari gets too Real

Reader Don would like to go on Safari but finds his attempts too Real. He writes:

I use Apple’s Mail and each time I click a link with a Mail message, Real Player opens instead of Safari. I’ve opened Mail’s preferences to change it back to Safari but I can’t find anywhere that allows me to do this.

You’re looking in the wrong place, I’m afraid. Back In The Day (meaning in the era of OS 9 when we lived in caves and an abacus served as the common portable computing device) there was the Internet control panel that we used to choose default applications tied to particular Internet services—Outlook Express for email and Internet Explorer for web browsing, for example. OS X doesn’t offer that one-stop preference.

Instead, preferences like this are found within specific Apple applications. In this case, the default browser is configured within Safari’s preferences, even if you never intend to use Safari. In those preferences click the General tab and make sure that Safari is chosen in the Default Web Browser pop-up menu (and yes, other apps, including Real Player, that haven’t a hope of opening your links can appear in this pop-up menu).

To add a little value to this tip, let me mention these other common preferences and the applications in which they appear:

RSS reader: You find this within the RSS tab of Safari’s preferences.

Email client: Check the Default Email Reader pop-up menu within Apple’s Mail applications.

Image transfer: When you plug a camera or camera’s media card into your Mac, an application can launch and offer to download those pictures to your Mac. If you have iPhoto ’08, you’ll find this option in iPhoto’s General tab in the Connecting Camera Opens pop-up menu. This preference doesn’t appear in iPhoto ’06. Instead, you choose the default photo-downloading application within Image Capture’s General tab.

CDs and DVDs If you’d rather that iTunes not open when you insert a music CD, iPhoto not appear when you insert a picture CD, DVD Player not launch when you insert a video DVD, or the Mac ask you what you want to do when you insert a blank CD or DVD, travel to the CDs & DVDs system preference. Here you can configure how your Mac will react to the insertion of disc-based media.

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