Make Facebook on Android Open Links in the Default Browser

Facebook users may have noticed a recent change to its mobile app. When you click on a link, it now opens in Facebook, instead of your preferred, default browser. This is really annoying; here’s how to change it back on Android.

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Facebook claims “links open faster” but they do not. Perhaps on slower devices they seem to open faster because you’re no longer switching from one app to another, but webpages, particularly complex, image and ad-heavy ones, take significantly longer to load than they do in Chrome.

We timed several websites with a stopwatch, first in Facebook and then in Chrome, and our totally unscientific findings reveal that it’s not simply a subjective figment of our imagination. Websites do indeed take anywhere from three to eight seconds longer to fully render than they do in Chrome.

Switching Back to Chrome

To be fair, Facebook does warn you, but you may not even notice if you’re not paying attention. Moreover, because it disappears as soon as you start scrolling, you’re not required to acknowledge that you’ve actually seen it.

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Don’t blink or you might miss this “warning.”

If you tap the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner, you see an option to open links in Chrome.

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This method though is wholly unsatisfying. It’s clunky because it requires another step, rather than simply opening links in Chrome in the first place.

Fortunately, you can turn off the Facebook browser and revert to your default one. From the Facebook app, click on the navigation button, and then scroll down to “Help & Settings” and then tap “App Settings.”

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In the Settings, simply scroll down and tap “always open links with external browser” to “On,” then tap your device’s back button to exit the Settings.

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That’s it, your links will now open in your default browser (likely Chrome).

Unfortunately, it appears you cannot revert to your default browser on the iOS version of the app, so iPhone and iPad users appear to be stuck (for now) either using the Facebook browser, or tapping the menu button and then “open in Safari.”

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Hopefully, Facebook will add this setting to the iOS version. Obviously, it’s something they may eventually remove from the Android version, but for now, it’s simply a brief inconvenience that you can easily remedy.

If you have an opinion on this and would like to make yourself heard, please let us know what you think in the discussion forum.

Matt Klein is an aspiring Florida beach bum, displaced honorary Texan, and dyed-in-wool Ohio State Buckeye, who fancies himself a nerd-of-all-trades. His favorite topics might include operating systems, BBQ, roller skating, and trying to figure out how to explain quantum computers.