Android offers you endless ways to customize your phone, from the color and shape of app icons to your preferred way of navigating the system. This customization extends to your default app for common tasks like making calls and sending texts. You might prefer to use a web browser with more privacy features or replace Google Assistant with Alexa. You are free to download the app of your choice and set it as the default app – it only takes a few steps.
For reference, these are the types of apps you can set new defaults for:
- internet browser
- Caller ID & Spam Blocker
- digital assistant
- Home app (also known as Launcher)
- SMS (chat)
These are the steps I followed to change the default SMS app on my TCL 30 V 5G Android 11 phone that I’m using at the moment, but the process is the same for any of the above apps. The steps are also the same on the Google Pixel 6.
- Go to the Play Store and download the new app that you want to set as default.
- head for Settings > Apps And under “General” click default apps.
- Choose the app you want to replace – in my case, File SMS app. On the next menu screen, you’ll see the current default app along with any other SMS apps you’ve downloaded.
- Select the app you want to use as the default.
These are the same steps you would follow if you wanted to customize your home screen experience with a new launcher. A launcher like Niagara can rearrange your home screen and app drawer so that it’s easy to use with one hand. Nova is another popular choice for customization. If you really want to make tweaks, the new launcher is a powerful way to change the everyday experience of using your phone. To make your new launcher the default, find a file home app check on default apps page.
How to deal with links
And while you’re in the vicinity, you can change the way your phone handles links. For example, you can arrange it so that Google Play Store links open in the App Store itself, not in a web browser. You can see which installed apps are set to open certain links and choose whether the system should do this automatically or ask each time you click on one of those links.
- from default app Menu screen, tap open links at the bottom.
- under Installed appsselect the application whose behavior you want to change.
- Tap (or toggle) Open Supported Links.
- On some devices, you may have additional options to have the phone ask if it should open or automatically open links in the app without asking.
Finally, you can also adjust your preferences for the Android Instant Apps feature. Provided you’re running Android 5.0 or later, your device is already enabled to use Instant Apps, which are basically small versions of full apps that will run without you having to download and install them. Some game developers use instant apps so you can try out a game without having to download everything. You will see this if you have installed and run the Google Play Games app. Some games have an “Instant Play” icon next to them to play the game without installing it.
By default, this feature is enabled and you will see that it is enabled in a file open links Menu page next to instant apps. You can go further and enable instant app links in your browser by clicking Instant Apps Preferences and choose web links promotion.
Android instant apps don’t seem to be endorsed by the developers, so you might not encounter them in the wild, but enabling them via web links doesn’t hurt and may save you the hassle of downloading another app one day.