"Open With Audacity" won't actually open a sound file.

I’m using Audacity 2.3.3 on a Mac running Catalina 10.15.2 and have been having a strange problem. At some point recently (probably after upgrading to Catalina) I noticed I can no longer right-click on a sound file and open it with Audacity. Or, for that matter, open ANY sound file with audacity, even project files, using the OS menus.

If I open Audacity and from within the program try to open the sound file, it works fine. But that’s kind of inconvenient since I’ve been doing it the other way for 10 years.

Something seems amiss. To try and fix it, I’ve done a complete uninstall of Audacity (including removing caches and other config files) and then restarting the Mac and reinstalling the latest version of Audacity. But same results - can’t open with Audacity through the Mac context menu in Finder.

I’ve verified the “open with” menu is pointed to the correct version of Audacity in the Applications folder.

I don’t get an error. For that matter, it doesn’t seem like anything is happening. But if I open the file through the Audacity > File > Open approach it works fine.

That’s probably another symptom of the new border fences that Apple is busy erecting. (Basically they’d prefer all apps run on Macs to come from the Apple Store). Apple now require an app to be “notarized” - i.e. officially approved by them before that app can be granted permission to use system resources. Currently it is necessary to launch Audacity via a “proxy” (such as the Terminal) so that it can “inherit” permissions granted to the proxy, but it is not possible to grant permissions (such as permission to access files) directly to Audacity until a “notarized” version of Audacity becomes available.

Hopefully the next Audacity release (due around the end of Q1 2020) will be able to jump through Apple’s hoops and over Apple’s hurdles so as to be properly supported by Catalina.

That sounds very plausible. Doing some experiments with file-association I got it to open ONE file (the first) to launch Audacity. So that’s a kind of improvement, but once Audacity is open it will not allow the Finder to open subsequent files via double-click. I can still use File > Open, but… tedious. When you come to rely on double-click it’s easy to forget how often you use it until you’ve got to go through five or six steps again and again to accomplish what was once simplicity itself.

I look forward to future versions to see if this is resolved.

I am having this same problem, also on Catalina. The first file opens okay, but any additional files won’t open at all when clicked (or when you use open with). I work with a lot of audio files and I’m really feeling the pain. Any luck on the next release of Audacity fixing this? Is there a beta release I can use in the mean time?

I just updated to the latest version, Audacity 2.4.1, which is supposed to be notarized, but I’m still having the same issue where double clicking doesn’t work.

Audacity 2.4.1 is notarized.
I’m not sure what is preventing projects opening when double clicking on the AUP file while Audacity is running - it is being looked into.

Note that associating audio files with Audacity has never been an official supported feature, even though it has previously been possible on all platforms.

Same here - Catalina has a lot of small issues that only show up when you need them.

Have a workaround - will require a bit of computer knowledge though as I have solved it for myself and someone might be able to improve it

To Install:

  • download the attachment and unarchive it - should get a file called ‘Audacity-Open.workflow’
  • select your desktop/finder cmd-n (new window and cmd-shift G (go to folder)
  • copy/paste
  • double-cliek the copied ‘Audacity-Open.workflow’ to open it in Automator
  • edit the ‘Run Shell Script’ to point to your Audacity.app location (remember to add a \ if there is a space in the path like my example)
  • save it

To Use:

  • ALWAYS manually open Audacity first (…this is a main part of how this appears to work)
  • you can then right-click (ctrl-click) a file, scroll down to Services and select ‘Audacity-Open’

This script can certainly be improved and turned into an installer.
Audacity-Open.workflow.zip (133 KB)

If turned into an installer, it would need to be hosted somewhere else. The security risk of hosting an unverified installer would not be allowed on this forum.

Perhaps you can tell us precisely what your proposed fix does, why it is needed, and how it works.

Hi Steve,

I realise that you must protect your users from potential attack vectors,
I have both a personal Apple Developer Account and a company Deveoper Account, so providing an Apple verified installer would not be a problem for me. The problem I have is time.
I just do not have the time to spend on this, apart from the 1/2 a day I have already done to solve the problem for me (OSX Catalina ‘Open with’) that everyone here on this topic has posted.

  • This workaround (not fix!) opens a Finder passed file with a ‘bash/shell’ pass to an alrady existing Audacity.app instance
  • It is needed because currently with OSX Catalina it is impossible to use ‘Open with…’ on more than one file
  • It works because there is already an instance of Audacity.app, and using the Automator/Shell script appears to bypass whatever new rules Apple have implemented with Catalina.

Anyway, it works for me.

Open the file in Automator and can see exactly what it is doing.
In fact, it won’t work for you until you edit it anyway.

Thanks Rob for the description (and your understanding re. safeguarding responsibilities), and for contributing the workaround.