You Probably Don’t Need Adobe Reader On Your Mac

Many Mac users have Adobe Reader on their Macs so they can read and fill out PDF files. But macOS already has a very capable PDF app named Preview. Most people will find it more than capable for all of their needs, and perhaps a little faster and convenient. If Adobe Reader is set as your default PDF app, I'll show you how to switch back to using Preview.

Comments: 31 Responses to “You Probably Don’t Need Adobe Reader On Your Mac”

    Allen
    1 month ago

    Currently use cnc machine and other tools that use pdfs to outline correct usage of machine. However if pdf is set to preview (default) will not open due to it is from an unrecognized developer.

    Pio Verges
    1 month ago

    Hi, I found this very useful, as every time I open up adobe, it slows down my computer.

    1 month ago

    Allen: Not sure what you are experiencing there. Preview is a default app that is part of macOS. You shouldn't run into any "unrecognized developer" errors when launching Preview. But it sounds like when you try to open a PDF it is trying to use a different app, maybe?

    Dave Nichols
    1 month ago

    Thanks. For clearing this up. Appreciate it.

    cindy
    1 month ago

    Great time saving and easy to use info
    Thanks so much

    Kathy
    1 month ago

    It took awhile but I finally got my computer to get Preview as my default. I always wondered how Acrobat Reader became my default and this explains it.

    Lali Raj
    1 month ago

    Great video. Thanks Gary. If I already have Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.app; is it alright to delete it. If I can how to delete it?

    Tim A
    1 month ago

    And to add to the confusion there is Adobe Digital Editions for accessing protected ebooks so they cannot be copied or used in any other app.

    Lindsay
    1 month ago

    I was having issues with printing pdfs opened with Adobe Reader and was constantly having to manually select Preview - as the pdfs then printed no worries. Some issue with the printer perhaps. Anyway, this awesome advice has solved my problem. Really very much appreciated!

    Bob
    1 month ago

    Thanks Gary. I didn't know that Preview offered all those PDF functions that I normally use Adobe to access. I especially like the editing functions that Preview provides for PFD forms that need to be printed before they can be completed. Really helpful. Cheers!

    Mark Flannery
    1 month ago

    I had no idea Preview could do this. Very helpful! It's information like this that keeps me subscribing to MacMost.

    umesh Kumar
    1 month ago

    Very good explanation. Only I am unable to print a pdf document in Greyscale.

    Chris in CT
    1 month ago

    One of my uses for Adobe Reader is proofreading PDF versions of books before printing. Two page mode is helpful for checking margins, etc. Is there a way for Preview to display a vertical line separating left and right pages, like one sees in Adobe Reader?
    This video was eye opening and Preview will likely become my default PDF viewer. Thanks.
    PS The Preview print function also seems to offer far better control than Adobe Reader.

    1 month ago

    Chris: I don't know of any way to put a vertical line there. But I haven't really looked so maybe explore a bit and see.

    John C
    1 month ago

    thanks Gary, a very helpful video Cheers !

    JL
    1 month ago

    Allen, you should contact the company that created CNC Machine and find out why. I saw that there are AppStore versions of some of their tools and perhaps those work properly (in case you aren't using those or you're on a website downloaded version). In any case, if they app was adapted for Mac use, this shouldn't happen.

    Gary, I totally agree with you on Adobe Reader and even other of their products, I've had lots of design and a few security issues with their products on Windows as well.

    JL
    1 month ago

    NOTE: The ONLY Adobe application I've kept is Adobe Acrobat DC (the creation tool you mentioned) on my MacBook Air for only a few functions, when I need to modify a PDF (the structure, not for filling in), add form fields and create a fill in form. I'd love to know how to do these things and create fill-in PDF's with Pages or Word and get rid of it, as I've done so for other apps I used to use created by Adobe, which as I mentioned had various issues, also including slowing down my system.

    Brian A. Foster
    1 month ago

    Both Adobe Reader and Apple Preview have their strengths. Preview's greatest shortcoming is that it does not always handle forms well. Preview will often change the font and font size, and disregards many input rules established by Adobe Acrobat Pro. So, if you wanted a structured numeric response in a field, for example, Preview will let you type anything, ignoring the rules. Adobe Reader also brings up a handy calendar when using date fields, while Preview doesn't.

    Pathy Lakshmipathy
    1 month ago

    Gary, I have some pdf files that won't open with Preview but require Adobe Reader.
    The Fincen Form 114 is one such. (see https://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/NoRegFBARFiler.html)
    When I download the NFFBAR.pdf from the above site and try to open it with Preview, here is the message I get.

    The document you are trying to load requires Adobe Reader 8 or higher. You may not have the Adobe Reader installed or your viewing environment may not be properly configured to use Adobe Reader.

    1 month ago

    Pathy: Not much you can do about that. Looks like whoever designed that document built it specifically to display that message if you aren't using Adobe Reader. Could be just a poor job on their part. Or, it could be that the document is using some advanced security or encryption features that really do need Adobe Reader. This kind of thing is why there is a "probably" in the title above.

    JL
    1 month ago

    Hi Pathy,

    Yes, the only file I've ever needed that forced me to have an Adobe product is that form. Sadly, government hasn't updated use of other products to open that form (which we can suggest as Apple user to them, LOL!). I use Acrobat though, since it gives other functionality that is useful versus Adobe Reader. But, yes, like Allen there are these oddball PDF creators that may force you to use an Adobe product.

    Bill Reist
    4 weeks ago

    Avoided Adobe Reader on MacOS until last week. Financial firm revised their online documents, and I can only "print as image" in Acrobat Reader DC. The Epson driver/printer dialog does not provide this option, so had to use the advanced (printing) option in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. Multiple columns of data are blank when printed from Preview (which uses the Epson printer dialog). Newest Epson driver for Big Sur (newest OS supported for my mac).

    Douglas Brace
    4 weeks ago

    I use Preview for opening PDF files but I use Adobe Acrobat Reader for when I make comments because of the possibility of sharing the PDF file with other people that are not Mac or iOS users.

    4 weeks ago

    Douglas: Markup you add to PDFs in Preview can be seen using any PDF reader, Mac or Windows.

    LE Moore
    4 weeks ago

    I also use Preview to creat a new PDF from something I've copied to the clipboard (see MENU: FILE > NEW FROM CLIPBOARD). Very handy!
    Bugs that haunts me: Often I annotate a PDF using a text box with colored text and then save the file. Later, when I reopen the file, the box will be background filled with the color of the text making it unreadable. Or the font size will have shrunk to the smallest size. Or the text box will have narrowed so that the text wraps. My formats change!

    Julianne Adamik
    4 weeks ago

    OMG! I had no idea how functional Preview is!!!!! As usual, AWESOME video.

    Douglas Brace
    3 weeks ago

    Gary: I understand that the markup feature and its tools in Preview is similar to commenting and its tools in Adobe Reader but the way that Preview works is not consistent enough and they display differently.

    Bill Reist
    3 weeks ago

    Back to using Preview to print PDFs. Problem was with a recently replaced black cartridge. Adobe Reader appears to direct more ink to page with "print as image", which was compensating for poor ink flow from cartridge. Need to be sure to put new cartridges on probation for first few weeks after they are put in service.

    Thomas Danisi
    2 days ago

    I download all internet files and save to PDF in Preview but I have lost one important file. Is there a Preview history file that could show a PDF file, say from five weeks ago, like a history.db file for Safari? I realize that one can go to "recent Items" and click on 50 but I need to see further back like starting at 150...

    2 days ago

    Thomas: No, nothing like that. Search in the Finder for PDF documents and sort by date last opened.

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