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How To Set & Manage Default Apps In Android


When you’re performing certain tasks on your phone, you’ll often only want one app to do it for you. This is where default apps come in, and it’s pretty easy to set, change, and remove them on your Android device.

While it’s easy, newcomers to the platform might not know how to manage them. Well, have no fear. Here’s a handy guide telling you how to set and manage default apps on your Android phone.

As a disclaimer, there are several manufacturers, and many of them offer their own take on the Android operating system. Thus, managing your default apps on certain phones will be different from what’s explained in this article. In this article, we’ll explain how to do this on stock Android. Most phone makers use stock Android, so, chances are that this method will work for you.

 What are default apps?

So, in case you don’t know what we’re talking about, here’s a quick rundown. When you want certain tasks completed on your phone, you’ll often want only one app to perform them. Familiarity is a big part of the whole smartphone experience.

So, an app that’s assigned to perform a task every time is called a default app. A web browser that always opens when you tap on a link is the default browser. A photo editing app that always opens when you tap on the edit photo button is the default photo editor. Having default apps really speeds up your workflow, especially if there are apps that you have to use on a constant basis.

Setting an app as the default

There are a few different ways that you can manage your default apps. You can either go through the settings or go to each app’s menu. Let’s start with setting default apps.

For this example, we’ll use a PDF reader. If your phone only has one PDF reader, then it will automatically assign that as the default app. But, if you download an additional one, then you’ll be able to choose the default. The quickest way is to just try opening a PDF reader. In this example, we’re opening a file from an email.

When you try opening a PDF file with more than one reader installed, you’ll see a pop-up appear showing you all of the apps that can open this type of file. The previous default app will be at the top of the list, and you’ll see some options right below it.

You can tap on the Just once button to only use the app on that occasion. If you use that option, then you’ll get the popup again when trying to open that type of file again. Tapping on the Always button will set that app as the default.

Set default app 1

Under the previous default app, you’ll see a list of the other apps that can open that file. Tapping on one of those apps will open it, but it won’t set it as the default. When you try to open that type of file again, you’ll get the popup once more. This time, that app will be at the top, and you’ll be able to set it as the default.

Changing default apps

So, you’ve selected a default app, but you want to change it to another app. Well, as mentioned before, if you go and download a new app, you’ll have the ability to set that app as the default. But, if you want to change it to an app that you’ve already installed, then it’s pretty simple.Set default app 4

First, you’ll want to go to the current default app. On the home screen, hold your finger down on that app. You’ll see a little popup appear with some options. Tap on the App Info button (the “i” in a circle). There, you’ll see useful information and settings for that app. Scroll down to the Open by default section.

When you tap on that section, you’ll see a button on the bottom reading Clear default preferences. When you do that, the system will unassign this app as the default.

After that, go to the file or link that you want to open. You’ll get the popup again showing you the options for apps. This time around, since there are no apps assigned, the top app will not app be the only one with the Just once and Always buttons. Those buttons will be available to all of the apps. When you tap on one, you’ll see them appear at the bottom.

Using the settings menu

Since some people still use older versions of Android, they might not be able to use the App Info page. If you don’t get the popup when you hold your finger down on an app, you can go through your settings.

In the setting, scroll down until you see the Apps section. You should see a Default apps button. There, you’ll see a list of the apps that have defaults assigned. Look for the app that you want to unassign, open the page, and clear the default.

You can go on without setting a default app

Setting a default app isn’t required. There are people who like to have different options when opening files. A person might ping-pong between using the native Google Photos editor and Picsart. If you don’t want to assign a default app you can just tap on the Just once button whenever you’re trying to open a file.

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