How to Reset Default Browser on Android (6.0 and later)

Typically if a default browser has not been set, Android prompts you to select one on the Open With pop up window every time you open a link.

The chosen browser can be set to open the link(s) Just once or Always. Selecting the latter makes the browser the default one for all links i.e the default browser
open with prompt
Open With Prompt

Reverting back to get the Open with pop up however is not as straightforward. One gets the option to only change the default Browser app but not to reset it back to No Default Browser (which is what's responsible for the Open with prompt).

The option I'm referring to is the one in:
Settings > Apps & notifications> Advanced > Default Apps > Browser App




Option 1: Clear Defaults for the Current Default App


To do this, first establish the current default browser app by going to the Default Apps settings as shown above then go back and view all the installed apps. Find and open this browser then go to Open by Default and tap the CLEAR DEFAULTS button.

The default browser should now be reset. To confirm this go back to the Default Apps and you'll notice that the Browser category now reads No Default Browser or None if you're using Android 8.0 (Oreo).



Option 2: Resetting App Preferences

Clearing the defaults for the current default browser may not fully restore the Open with dialog in some cases. Such was the case with my Marshmallow device however on my newer device running Oreo, clearing the defaults took care of this.
clear app defaults
Clearing App's Defaults

In my older device, the normal browser links were still opening with the no longer default browser with the exception being links associated with given apps such as YouTube for youtube links, Quora for quora links etc. In those scenarios it showed the prompt, but didn't include any other browsers in the choices.

A quick solution would be to reset app preferences for all the apps. Consider this a nuclear option as it is guaranteed to work however at the cost of resetting the app preferences for all the other installed apps.
app preferences
Resetting App Preferences

To do this go to: Settings > Apps & notifications> View All Apps then tap on the three dots on the top right corner of the page and select Reset app preferences > RESET APPS



Option 3: Reset by Installing or Uninstalling a Browser

Turns out if you install a new browser, the Android system is triggered into clearing the default browser on its own. It does this as it's likely that one may want to set the new browser as the default one.

After doing this the browser category in default apps will read No Default Browser or None as if you cleared the default for the default browser.
no default browser
No Default Browser Set

Likewise, uninstalling the browser with the current default should bring up the prompt up again. One can thereafter reinstall the app. However that could mean losing any valuable data (bookmarks, add-ons etc.) that one had on that app (not unless you had backed up its data and can restore it).

Alternatively, one can just change the default browser to a browser that is already installed, uninstall it and that should get the Open with prompt again.

Kelvin is a writer and registered nutritionist based in Nairobi. Passionate about writing and helping people solve problems, he's been actively blogging since 2014 on tech, nutrition and "pseudo poetry".



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