How to make Illustrator default to CMYK. My color box says CMYK, but my swatches still default to RGB please help.
Illustrator "defaults" to what an existing file is set to, or whatever you tell illustrator to use. There's no way to tell Illustrator to always use a particular color mode.
Open new files as CMYK:
Illustrator uses whatever color mode you chose when opening a new file.
If you are opening existing files, you'll need to change the document color mode via
File > Document Color Mode: SEE HERE
You should also be aware of issues with merely switching document color modes: See here