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How to change the default apps on Android?

With the open nature of the operating system and the vast number of applications available on the Play Store, Android users tend to have multiples of applications that perform the same function installed on their devices.

But the fact is, only one of the installed services can function as the de facto app when users want to open a file or perform an action. If there is no default, an action prompt appears, which requires an app to be selected to execute the said activity.

This prompt can be confusing for those unfamiliar with smartphones or a hassle for experienced ones — especially in cases where users want to get to the end of an activity or when tapping on a file opens it in an application that isn’t their first choice.

Thus, follow this guide to learn how to change the default applications on your Android device. We also explain how you can remove set defaults if you would like to have the ability to choose which app opens files or performs an action every time.

The screenshots displayed are from a Pixel 2 XL running Android 11. Keep in mind, though this method applies to various Android smartphones, UI differences due to custom skins may lead to a slight difference in steps.

Also read: How to fix ‘Gboard Not Working’ issue?

Changing the default apps on Android

Open Settings on your Android device and follow the steps listed below.

How to change the default apps on Android? | Candid.Technology
  • Open Apps & Notifications subsection.
  • Click on Advanced.
  • Tap on Default apps.
How to change the default apps on Android? | Candid.Technology
  • Here users can choose to set a default application for the functions listed below.
    • Browser
    • Caller ID & spam app
    • Digital assistant application
    • Home app
    • Phone app
    • SMS app
    • Opening links
  • Choose the desired category. 
  • Now, select the application — from the options available — that needs to be the default.

If you cannot find the Apps & notifications subsection, using the search terms “apps” or “default applications”, within the Settings application should bring forward the required menus.

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How to remove a default application?

You can either remove a single default app or remove all the changes you’ve made to default apps on your device using the methods below.

Method 1: Removing a singular default

Open Settings on your Android device and follow the steps listed below.

  • Open Apps & notifications subsection.
  • Tap on See all apps to see a list of installed applications.
  • Pick an application to remove its default action.
  • Tap on Advanced.
  • Now, tap on Open by default.
  • On the next page, tap on Clear defaults.

Method 2: Removing all default applications

Open Settings on your Android device and follow the steps listed below.

  • Open Apps & notifications subsection.
  • On the next screen, tap on See all apps to see a list of installed applications.
  • Now, tap on the triple dot menu icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
  • Tap on Reset app preferences.

Also read: How to transfer contacts from Android to Android?

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