Android Tip of the Day: Change Any Default App


Have you installed an app that replaces one of the preinstalled phone apps, but the original app still fires up when you try to do something with the new one? Don’t fret, Android (s goog) has a way to reassign the default app to use in any situation, if you know how to do it. Our Android tip of the day shows you how to use any app as a default for particular tasks.

The best way to demonstrate this method is by example. Say you installed a nifty new web browser and you like it so much you want to use it for every web sessions instead of the stock browser that came on the phone. The problem is, every time you tap a bookmark in the widget on the home screen, it opens up the old browser. You can override that behavior with just a few simple steps.

Tap the Menu button on your phone and select the Android Settings option. Scroll down to the Applications section and tap it. On the next screen, tap Manage Applications and then the All tab on the subsequent screen. Scroll down the list of apps until you see the old browser listed and tap that entry. On the next screen look for the “Launch by default” section and hit the Clear defaults button.

Go back to the Home screen, and take an action that would trigger the browser, like hitting the bookmark on a widget. A dialog box will pop up like the one on the right, because Android no longer knows which browser is the default. Tick the “Use by default for this action” box and then tap the browser you want to use. The new app will run as expected, and will do so every time you perform a similar action. Don’t worry if you forgot to tick the default button, the option to do so will be presented every time you repeat this type of action until you set the default app.

This method works with any Android app, even system apps like the launcher at the bottom of the screen. Simply perform this procedure an any app as specified. Note that this works on Android 2.2 (Froyo), it may not on earlier versions.

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Cheryl Ching

Hi, i accidentally clicked on “use default” and i can’t revert back to get the widget back to make me choose the default application.

When I go in to “Manage applications” The “clear default” is not available for me to get rid of the default program i accidentally set up.

I can’t find the “Cleardefaults” app in Android Market.

What can I do?


Is there a way to chenge the default app associated to the soft/hard keys of the phone? For example, if I press the ‘magnifier’ soft key (as my phone has soft keys, instead of hard keys) Browser comes up. How could I associate the Quick Search Box to the ‘magnifier’ key?


Is there a way to replace the icons at the bottom of the home screen launcher with a replacement app? Thx

Josh Sunshine

This just makes me want my Desire HD now. I currently have an iPhone, and not being able to do this is one of the things which bugs the hell out of me.


Okay, but how do we keep the defaults from being cleared every time an app updates? I use the XScope browser, which releases an update about every two days, and every time it updates, I’m faced with that dialog box and I have to set it as the default again.


I think this is the way it worked in 1.5 (but that was a long time ago). Works this way in 1.6 as well.

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