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How to Reset Default Browser in Android

Usually, if no browser has not been set as the default, 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.

A screenshot showing the open with browser pop up in Android.

If you happen to choose Always for a particular browser, you may have realized that reverting to the Open with pop up is not as straightforward.

As it happens, in the settings there’s only an option to change the default Browser app but not to reset it back to No Default Browser (which is what’s responsible for that prompt).

The option I’m referring to is the one in: Settings > Apps & notifications> Advanced > Default Apps > Browser App (Android 8.1.0)

There are however some workarounds to restore the prompt as follows:

Option 1: Clear Defaults for the Current Default App

  1. First establish the current default browser app by going to the Default Apps settings or by opening a link.
  2. Go to the list of installed app settings and select this browser.
  3. Select the Open by Default option and tap the CLEAR DEFAULTS button.
  4. 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 prompt in some cases.

A screenshot showing the default settings for a browser in Android 6.0.

Such was the case with my older Android 6.0 device where it seemed the action only affected links which were associated to installed apps such as YouTube and Quora links.

All the other normal browser links were however still opening with the previous default browser.

A quick solution to this is 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 in 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 happen to install a new browser from the store, the Android system automatically clears the default browser on its own. I take it does this to give the user an opportunity to set the new browser as the default.

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.

A screenshot showing no default browser set in Android settings.

Similarly, uninstalling the browser with the current default should bring up the prompt up again. One can thereafter reinstall the app. That could however mean losing any valuable data (bookmarks, passwords 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 different browser that is already installed, uninstall it and that should restore the prompt.

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Kelvin Kathia

Kelvin is a writer that's been actively blogging since 2014, initially on a personal blog which over time splintered into various separate sites. Journey Bytes was the first of these sites, and has from the onset been an outlet for his techie side.



4 Comments

  1. Unfortunately this information is outdated, since about January 2021 ‘set as default’ is not available for browsers

      1. Right now I am using version 12 and the old option is gone completely
        But even on version 11 the option you are talking about got moved to a new location

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