Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020, 15:01 iOS: Software

iOS14: Setting up 3rd Party Browsers and Mail Clients

Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Brave, Opera, or Dolphin—the choice of browsers for iOS and iPadOS is numerous. Until now, Apple’s preinstalled browser, Safari, has had a special advantage over other browsers: Safari has been the default display browser for webpages, and all webpages opened from links in other apps have been displayed by Safari. The same can be said for Apple Mail, if one were to tap an email address on a website, then Apple Mail would automatically start and this behavior couldn’t be changed by the user.

iOS 14 enables new choices for Default Apps
In iOS 14 users can now individually choose a 3rd party browser or mail client to take the place of the default Safari or Apple Mail. However, Apple has “hidden” both options, finding them isn’t terribly straightforward for most iPhone and iPad owners. The option to change the default browser or mail client is found neither in the Settings app, where one might expect, nor in Safari or Apple Mail.

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iOS 14: Changing the Default Browser
To select an app other than Safari as the default browser, it has to already be installed on the iPhone or iPad. In this case, open “Settings" and scroll down until the name of the alternative browser is shown in the list—or search for it using the “Search” bar in “Settings". Next, tap on the app and then on “Default Browser App” and select the browser you’d like to function as the default browser. All links will now be opened in this browser.

iOS 14: Changing the default Mail Client
Changing the default mail client can be done in the same manner as changing the default browser. In this case of course, one would simply need to choose the new mail client instead of web browser, after which the newly selected mail client will immediately take the place of Apple Mail as the default mail client.

Not compatible with all Browsers and Mail Clients
It’s possible that not all browsers or mail clients will show up in the list of “default" apps. Apps which don’t show up in the list haven’t fulfilled the specifications set by Apple for default browsers or mail clients. t’s also conceivable that some developers haven’t yet updated their apps to conform with Apple's guidelines for default apps.

Restarting resets Default Apps
Unfortunately, changing the default browser or mail client isn’t permanent. When the iPhone or iPad is restarted the newly configured default browser will revert to Apple’s preinstalled Safari or Apple Mail. It’s currently unknown whether or not this is a bug, or if Apple has intentionally designed iOS 14 to behave this way. Our tests also show that default apps in iOS don’t always behave as they should. Sometimes the Apple Mail app will still be opened when an email address on a webpage is tapped, and when an app other than Safari has been chosen as the default browser, the user will constantly be asked if the app should be opened—quite annoying at times.

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