How to Change and Clear Default Apps in Android

How to change which app automatically opens a file for you

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What to Know

  • Set or change: Go to Settings > Apps > Default apps. Select the app category > select an app.
  • When you tap a link or open a file, choose an app to open it, then select Always to make it the default.
  • Clear: Open Apps & notifications > Default apps > Open all apps > Open by default > CLEAR DEFAULTS.

This article explains how to set, change, or clear default apps on your Android. The steps vary slightly among manufacturers and software versions, but the basic instructions apply to all.

How to Change Default Apps

It's a fairly simple process to change which app opens a file automatically for you. When you tap a link or open a file, you're offered a choice of apps. After you select an app, select Always to make it the default, or select Just once if you want to use another app in the future.

Alternatively, you can set default apps in Settings:

  1. Open Settings and select Apps & notifications.

  2. Tap Advanced.

  3. Tap Default apps.

    Apps & notifications in Android Settings
  4. Select a category to change. For example, choose a default web browser, phone app, or SMS app.

  5. In the list of available apps in that category, tap the circle next to the app you want to make the default.

    Browser app, Firefox radio button in Android settings
  6. Tap the back arrow to return to the previous page. Your selected app is listed as the default.

Some Android manufacturers install their own defaults and offer limited capability to make changes.

How to Clear Default Apps

Current versions of Android offer a single, direct way to clear defaults on a per-app basis.

  1. Open Settings and tap Apps & notifications.

  2. Select Open all apps or See all [#] apps to see the full list of apps on your device.

  3. Scroll down and choose the app that you want to clear as the default.

    On Android, Apps & notifications open with all apps displayed
  4. Tap Open by default.

  5. Tap CLEAR DEFAULTS to clear out the default actions that you set.

    If the app is set as the default for some actions, you'll see You've chosen to launch this app by default and a CLEAR DEFAULTS option. If the app is not set as the default, you'll see No defaults set, and the CLEAR DEFAULTS option will be grayed out.

  6. After the defaults are cleared, the page refreshes and displays a No defaults set message, and the CLEAR DEFAULTS option is grayed out.

    Android Open by default, Clear Defaults, No defaults set
  7. The default actions that you set for that app are cleared, and you can assign another app as the default app for that action.

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