Android for the Windows Guy: Configure Default Apps

Posted on May 17, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 0


One of the nice things about Android is that it behaves like Windows when it comes to choosing default apps. This means that you can always use the web browser or other apps you prefer, even if your handset maker or wireless carrier has configured the phone to use other apps.

Note: This tip applies to Android M (6.0) and higher. But if you’re using an older Android version, you can still configure the apps you want to use as default. The method is just slightly different. (I’m currently using a pre-release version of Android N.)

There are two primary interfaces to be aware of here. The first is Configure Apps in Settings. The easiest way to find this is with Settings search. But you should find it by navigating to Settings, Apps; then, choose the Gear icon to find Configure Apps.


As you can see, here you can select items like Home app, Browser app, Phone app and so on to set a default app for those tasks. For Browser app, I see the following.


Just select the app you wish to use and it will be used for all related activity going forward.

You will also run into a default apps pop-up when you install a new app that can become a default app for certain actions. For example, I just installed Opera on Android. So when I tap a web link in an app (in this case Google Play Newsstand), I am given a choice of available browsers, including the one I just installed.


When you select an app, you can then choose to open the linked URL with that app “just once”—nice for testing—or “always,” if you’re sure that’s what you want. You can always go back to Settings and change the default if you make a mistake.