How to Change Default Apps on Android Phones

Android is known for customizing the OS to suit user preferences. One of the key features is the ability to change default apps on Android. Wondering what are the default apps on Android? Well, they are the applications that open certain file types or perform specific actions when you tap on a particular link or function.

Change default apps on Android

However, many default apps might not have enough features compared to third-party apps, and you may wish to set them as the default apps on Android phones. This guide will help you choose the preferred method for certain actions on your phone.

Note: We are using a device running stock Android to illustrate the steps. The options might vary depending on your Android OEM. If you are having difficulty finding the option, search App to find the application settings page and continue with the steps.

Also read: How to add date, time, and weather to the home screen

1. Set App as Default When Asked

Android allows you to set an app as default while performing certain actions, given that the system has yet to choose one. Here’s how to go about it.

Step 1: Tap the image, link, or file you want to open.

Step 2: Choose the app you want to open and choose Always.

choose the app and then choose between just once and always

If you are unsure, you can choose Just once and choose the app afterward.

2. Change Default App From Settings

Even if you set apps as default accidentally or want to change a system default app, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the Settings app > tap Apps and choose Default Apps.

Step 2: Select the action from the list for which you want to change the default app.

Step 3: Select the default app. We are going with ‘Caller ID & spam app’.

Tip: You can change the default web browser, assistant, phone app, home app, and SMS app.

3. Change Default Apps to Open Links

You can also set up a particular app to open links on your Android smartphone. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Open Settings > Apps and Default apps.

Step 2: Choose Opening links.

Step 3: Toggle off ‘Open supported links.’

toggle off open supported links

You can also add supported links for the app by tapping Add links > enable the link and tap Add.

Android’s Instant Apps feature allows users to experience small versions of full apps without downloading and installing them fully. This feature is available and enabled by default on devices running Android 5.0 or higher.

Instant apps allow you to open web links in instant apps (if supported) instead of web versions on the browser. You might be able to experience more features compared to the browser version.

Here’s how you can enable or disable it:

Step 1: Open Settings > Apps > Default apps.

Step 2: Choose Opening links and toggle on Instant apps.

Step 3: On the same screen, tap ‘Instant Apps preferences’ below Instant apps.

Step 4: Toggle on ‘Upgrade web links’.

Although it seems that Android Instant Apps are losing popularity among developers, enabling this feature for web links is still good.

Also read: Change the default app to open a file on Android

4. Use Third-Party Apps to Change Default App Actions on Android

While there’s a built-in option to change default apps on Android, if you want to get more controls, you can resort to third-party apps. Here’s how to go about it using the Better Open With app on Play Store.

Step 1: Open Play Store and search for Better Open With. Alternatively, you can access the app page from the link below.

Step 2: Install and Open the app.

Step 3: Choose the function you want to set the default app for.

Step 4: Select the app you for the necessary function.

Tip: Choose the eye button next to the app you want to hide.

Step 5: Now try to open the relevant file or media.

Step 6: Choose ‘Better Open With’ and select Just once or Always.

choose better open with and choose just once or always

The file or media will be opened in the designated app. Apart from that, many other apps offer similar options, but we found this the best.

How to Reset Default App Preferences on Android

Default preferences are assigned to an app by the system so that the app will open to expand the link or perform an action. However, if you want to clear these default preferences for an app, here’s how you can do it:

For Individual Apps

Step 1: Open Settings > choose Apps and tap ‘See all X apps.’

Step 2: Choose the default app for which you want to reset settings and choose ‘Open by default.’

Step 3: Select ‘Clear default preferences.’

choose clear default preferences

Reset All Actions to Default

If you think you have made a mistake by changing the default apps on Android, you can reset them to the default settings in one go.

Note: We are using a Xiaomi device running MIUI to test the steps mentioned here. The steps will be mostly the same for stock Android as well as other Android smartphones running custom skins, with a slight difference in option names and their placement.

Step 1: Open Settings > Apps > Manage apps.

Step 2: Tap on the three dots at the top right and choose ‘Reset app preferences.’

Step 3: Choose Reset apps to confirm.

choose Reset apps

FAQs to Set Default Apps on Android

1. Can we delete default apps in Android?

If your device hasn’t been rooted, you can only disable preinstalled apps, not uninstall them entirely. By disabling an app, it will stop running and be removed from your Apps list. To perform this action, simply access your Apps list and locate the gray gear-shaped Settings app.

2. What happens when you uninstall a default app?

While it’s not possible to uninstall system apps, you can uninstall any third-party apps. If you do, the system will revert to the default app shipped with the system or the next available option or remain unassigned until you change the default apps on Android.

Enjoy the App of Your Choice

Now that you know how to change default apps on Android, you can use the one of your choice and enjoy your Android smartphone without any limits. If you still have any suggestions or queries, let us know in the comments.

Last updated on 01 August, 2023

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