Android is renowned for how customizable it is. The tweaking and choice is one of the good reasons to go Android over iPhone. But have you ever tried setting and changing a default app in Android? It’s a mess. But we’re here to make it easy.
The Google Play Store has a whole bunch of great apps now, with new ones being launched all the time. If you like a new app, you should be able to set it as your default for a while and then switch quickly if you want to revert. For example, Justin thinks Boomerang for Android is better than Gmail as a default mail client. A short while later, the popular Mailbox came to Android and you might have wanted to use that as the default, just to see what it’s like.
If you didn’t like it and wanted to go back, the process is painful. You have to find the current default app, clear it from Android settings, and then choose this new app — and do the whole thing all over again when you want to go back.
How To Remove Default Apps In Android
The first step is still going to be finding what the current default app is for any file type and changing that. Hopefully, you already know that, but if you don’t, then Default App Manager Lite [No Longer Available] can show you. Download the app, check what the default is, and then you’re ready to go.
- Go to Settings
- Go to Apps
- Select the app that is currently the default launcher for a certain file type.
- Scroll down to “Launch By Default”.
- Tap “Clear Defaults”.
Repeat the above steps for every default app you currently have. This is important, it can’t be skipped. It took me about 10 minutes to finish this, so it’s not time-consuming.
Set Up Better Open With
After clearing, before you do anything else on your phone, start the Better Open With app. You’ll see a list of different file association apps:
- Audio Stream
- Geo Location
- Text Files
- Video Files
- Video Stream
Tap any file type and choose the app you want to associate with it. For example, tap Browser and then tap Chrome (the star icon will turn blue) to set it as your default. What you are essentially doing is telling your Android, “When I tap a link anywhere, open it in Chrome.” Incidentally, there’s good reason to choose Google Chrome since it is the fastest browser on Android.
The browser section is more customizable than the others. You can choose different apps for different types of links. For example, for a Twitter link, you can choose to open it in Tweetings, one of the most customizable Twitter clients for Android. Similarly, you can choose other options for YouTube, Reddit, Wikipedia, Google+, and the Play Store.
Set a default app for each of the file types before you exit.
Now, open the above file types one after another. A dialog will prompt you to choose a default app. In this, choose Better Open With and select “Always”. And just like that, you’ll never have to go to Settings to clear defaults again.
You see, the next time you want to set a default app, you just need to go to Better Open With and select that app as the default in there. Boom, it’s immediately your default app, no further steps needed. The original step of clearing all defaults for an app is gone now, as is selecting a new default app after that.
Other Advantages Of Using Better Open With
Not only does Better Open With make it easy to change your default app, it also gives you the option to start a different app. In the settings, you can choose a delay of a few seconds between tapping a file and opening an app. In these few seconds, you’ll see the other apps you can open the same file with; if you don’t tap anything, the default app opens the file. Yes, it’s a small delay, but that’s not a choice you get with any other app. I’ve been using Better Open With for some time now, and I’d recommend starting with the default 5-second delay, but you can later scale it down to two seconds without an issue, since you anticipate that dialog box.
You can customize whether the apps appear as a grid or a list, whether it’s icons only or text, and use a light or dark theme.
What’s Missing In Better Open With
While you get to set several default apps using Better Open With, it doesn’t work for all scenarios.
Case in point, we looked extensively for the best contacts and dialer app for Android to settle on Contacts+. But when Truedialer [No Longer Available] came out, we wanted to switch to this great smart dialer app with a crowd-sourced phonebook. Unfortunately, Better Open With has no option to select the default app for phone calls or contacts.
Similar, there are great free alternatives to replace the default Android SMS app, but you can’t do that with Better Open With.
Hopefully, in the future, the app adds the ability to change any default app association on Android. But right now, it’s limited to file types only.
Still, that doesn’t make it any less useful, especially when you consider that it’s completely free. So go ahead and grab it from the Play Store.
Download: Better Open With (Free)
Is Better Open With yet another example of why Android users love the customizability of this platform? Is it the type of app that stops you from switching to iOS or Windows Phone? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Explore more about: Android Customization.