For every function or data type, there is sometimes more than one app that let you open and use it. However, the experience with each app is different, which is why users often want to select/change which app handles a specific data type such as photos, PDF files, MS Office document etc…

For example, there might be more than one music player installed on your device so before opening an audio file, you will have to choose the player which you like the most. The same goes for images, videos and links, etc. you will have to choose a specific app for each function. Here are easy steps to get it done on Android.

Solution 1: open a file (or link) and choose

In the Email app, we tap a web link

In the Email app, we tap a web link. It’s possible to pick a default app if none was set

The process is easy, you can just open a file and if there is no default app set and there is more than one program that can open it, a pop menu will open asking you which app you would like to use in order to open that file.

There you can choose the app of your choice and tap “Always” or “Just once”. It is quite flexible if you choose “Just once” for a file as you will be asked to choose the app again next time when you open that type of file. This can be quite convenient if you would like to open the file in different programs from time to time according the requirement of the file. However, it can be quite a pain to always go through the pop up menu before opening such file.

It is better to just choose a program which seem most reliable to you and choose the option “Always” which will always open that type of file in that app without asking again and again.

Set up Default Application

Let’s start from the beginning, let’s say you have two browsers to open links, Android’s default Browser and Google Chrome. As no browser have been selected yet, this means when you will open a Link, you will be asked which browser you will like to use in order to open that specific Link.

If you would like to use Android’s default browser to open all the links you can just tap on it and choose “Always”. That is it! You are done and now every time you will open a link it will be opened in Android’s Default Browser.

Solution 2: go in the settings and change it

If a default has already been set, we need to go and change it for that specific app or data type. For example, you choose Android’s default browser as a browser of choice for opening links, but then you realize Google Chrome is better and want to switch to it. It is easy to choose a default app, but removing one is not that straightforward.

So in this tutorial, I am going to tell you how to clear default app in order to choose another app for a specific file. As an example, I will use default browsers for opening links, but the process is same for all files.

Note: This tutorial is created using Samsung Galaxy Core 2 running Android Kitkat 4.4.2. The name of the menu can be a bit different for different devices, for example, on some devices Application manager is referred as Apps.

How to Clear Default Applications Settings

Let’s say after choosing Android’s Default Browser as a default app for opening links you realize that Google Chrome is a better option and want to switch back to it. To switch back to it, you will have to bring that pop up menu back and in order to bring it back you will first have to clear the default application which you choose for opening links (in this case Android’s default Browser). The process will be same for all programs, whether it is image gallery or a music player. Just go into the Settings



In Settings, under Device heading you will see the option of Application manager (Apps) just tap on it. There you can just Swipe Left to filter between DOWNLOADED, SD CARD, RUNNING and ALL. Go to ALL (it is not compulsory to go to ALL, it is just easier to find the Applications there) and Scroll down until you see Internet (Android’s Default Browser) and tap on it.

Scroll down until you see a Clear defaults button, just tap on it and it will be cleared. Now just go back and open any link and the pop up menu will come again where you can choose Google Chrome as default App, which brings you back to solution #1 where you just pick which app you want.

If you cannot clear the defaults, it may be that the application may need to be “force closed” before this option becomes available gain. Worst case scenario you could uninstall it if you want to use the nuclear option.

Here is also a video that explains all of the above:

The process will be same for all apps which require you to set them as default apps for a particular action. Alternatively, you could also try to use an app (Default App Manager Lite, Smart App Manager) that would abstract some of this, but this is only saving you a few taps, so it seems a bit overkill. If you have additional questions, or know a better way of getting this done, please leave a comment.

Filed in Cellphones. Read more about Android and Apps.

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