How to Set Default Apps on Android

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When you have multiple applications that do the same thing—like browsers, for example—Android will ask you which one you want to use every time, at least until you set one as the default with the “always” action. In the earlier days of the app picker, you’d have to clear defaults for each one before applying another, but things have changed.

Now, there’s a simple way to manage default applications for the most-used apps all in one place. The only problem is that it’s in a different place for every major manufacturer. Just Android things, right?

The good news is that getting to where you need to be starts in the same place on basically every Android device out here: Settings. Just pull down the notification panel, and hit the cog icon to jump in.

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Once in Settings, you’ll need to find the Apps section for your particular manufacturer. On most devices, it’s just labeled “Apps” or “Manage Apps,” with the main exception being Samsung Galaxy handsets—you’ll be looking for “Applications.” Silly Samsung, being all formal. On LG devices, you’ll find “Apps” under the “General” tab.

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From here, things can get a little sketchy between brands. On Stock Marshmallow devices, just hit the cog icon in the top right corner, then “Default Apps.” This changes in Android N, as there is no “Default Apps” option—instead, everything is managed from the main app settings screen. On Galaxy devices, the second option to the top is “Default applications,” which is the one you want.

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On LG handsets, hit the overflow button in the top right corner, then “Configure apps.” On Huawei phones, tap “Default app settings” at the bottom of the screen.

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At this point, most handset makers should be pretty much on the same page. The majority will let you change the default launcher (Home), browser, dialer (phone), and SMS apps, along with some particulars that will vary between manufacturers.

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It’s worth mentioning here that whenever you install a new app that can be set as a default—like a launcher or browser—this will effectively reset your default preference for that category, allowing you to set the newly-installed app as default without having to go through much hassle. If you want to change it back, just following these instructions. Simple.

Cameron Summerson is a die-hard Android fan, Chicago Bulls fanatic, metalhead, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at HTG, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, spinning legs on the bike, chugging away on the 6-string, or being disappointed in the Bulls.