Introducing Default Handler

Recently, we conducted a poll among our users on both Mastodon and X to gather feedback on whether they would prefer Screens 5 to become the default handler for the “vnc” URL scheme on macOS, or if they would prefer to maintain the current status quo.

We were encouraged to find that approximately 80% of respondents expressed a positive inclination towards adopting Screens 5 as the default handler. However, we also acknowledge and respect the opinions of the remaining 20% who expressed a preference for maintaining the existing setup.

While the majority opinion is an important factor in our decision-making process, we recognize the significance of inclusivity and ensuring that the preferences of all users are considered.

The challenge we’re encountering stems from the requirement to designate a default handler within the app bundle settings, a configuration that remains static and unalterable while the application is running. Although APIs exist for setting default handlers at runtime, Apple has opted not to extend access to these APIs for sandboxed applications, a stipulation essential for approval on the Mac App Store.

If anyone from Apple reads this, please see FB13685855 for details.

So the solution we came up with is an app, called Default Handler.

Given that this app operates outside the constraints of sandboxing, it can freely utilize the APIs mentioned earlier. To utilize it, you simply need to create a new handler for the “vnc” URL scheme and designate Screens 5 as the preferred option:

And there you have it! Screens will now seamlessly take over the designated URL scheme. Should you ever need to revert to the original handler, the option is readily available. Additionally, Default Handler offers compatibility with other sandboxed applications grappling with similar constraints, providing a versatile solution for various scenarios.

What’s even better is that Default Handler is absolutely free! You can download the latest version here. Please note that Default Handler requires macOS 14 or later. It’s also important to note that this application is provided as-is, without any guarantee or support.

We hope this little utility will be useful to our Screens 5 users and others. And we sincerely hope that Apple will open those APIs to sandboxed apps in the near future. 🤞