How to Change default Apps in Android

If you’ve ever wanted to change the default app Android uses to do something, such as play videos, view pictures, or the default system launcher, then this post is for you. Android lets you pick a default app from a list of possible apps if no default is assigned, but what happens if you accidentally pick the wrong one, or if you change your mind?

This post will discuss three ways to manage default apps in Android; (1) doing it manually via the system settings, (2) using a free app that can manage all of the default actions from a single place, and (3) using a free app whose sole purpose is to let you change the default launcher on demand.

Throughout this post we will use as an example how to change the default video player from one app to another.

Default Apps in Android Illustration

1. Change Defaults Manually

The first step: you have to know the default app you want to change, which you will know since it opens every time you don’t want it to.

Next, go to settings / applications. Click on the ‘All’ tab in the upper right to make sure the app will be listed, then and down and open that application (i.e. the one that is the current default).

System-applicationsFind the application

Next click ‘Clear Defaults’. After this, try to open the same file type again (in this case a video file). Android will automatically prompt you for an application to use. Check ‘make default’ on the bottom first, then click on the appropriate app you want and you’re done.

Click clear defaultsChoose a new default app

2. Default App Manager app: manage defaults from a single place

A free, ad-supported app which takes a much more holistic approach, and which does not require you to go hunting for apps in the system settings, and allows you to edit a lot of defaults all at once from the same screen.

Install (from the link above) and launch. Click on the ‘All Defaults’ page and find the default app that you want to change (in our case, the video player), and click the ‘clear’ button next to it (screenshot bottom left). Next, scroll down in ‘App Info’ and press ‘Clear Defaults’. Go back to the app via Android’s back button.

Default App Manager - all defaultsClick clear defaults

To set a new default app, click ‘Category Wise’ then scroll down to the desired file type (e.g. video in this case). Click on it, then click on ‘Set Default’ in the upper right. Lastly check the ‘use by default’ checkbox and select the app you want from the list.

Default App Manager - by categoryDefault App Manager set defaultDefault App Manager Make Default

3. Twisted Home Manager: switch default launchers

‘‘Twisted Home Manager’ is a free app without ads that does one thing only: it changes the default Android launcher. Very useful if you, like me, like to experiment with a lot of different launchers.

The main screen will show you all possible installed launchers. To remove from default click ‘Clear Default’, then click ‘Clear Default’ again in the app screen (see below).

Twisted Home Manager - clear defaultsTwisted - Launcher clear defaults

To set a new default launcher, click ‘set defaults’, then check the ‘use default’ box in the bottom and choose a new launcher (see below)

Twisted Home Manager - set defaultTwisted - set default


Any thoughts or comments? Share them below.


 
 
 
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Samer Kurdi

Samer Kurdi

Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started Freewaregenius.com
Samer Kurdi
Feb 18, 2013
Samer Kurdi
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  • http://carbonize.co.uk Carbonize

    Going off the first part of your post I’m guessing you’re not on JellyBean yet because the way you say if the chosen app is the default one or not is different in JB and to be honest is a pain after the simplicity that it used to be.

    As to Twisted Home Manager it seems pretty pointless. If you just use the first part of your post to clear the default home you then simply hit the home button on your phone and it will ask you which one you want to use.

    • Samer Kurdi

      It’s different on Jellybean? Well that is just a total bummer! What does it look like in JB? I hope at least the ‘Default App Manager’ app works across the board.

      Yes, I see how it may seem pointless to use an app where you can just do it from the settings. But for some reason I have been using ‘Twisted Home Manager’ to do this and have grown to like it :)

      • http://carbonize.co.uk Carbonize

        http://cdn.androidpolice.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/wm_protip.jpg is the JB vrsion and more annoying is once you select always it then pops up a message about how to reset the default you have just set. With ICS etc you just press the app you want to use and it uses it, with JB you have to select the app then hit one of the damn buttons at the bottom and then dismiss that message if you chose always.

        • http://www.paleografie.tk Cerberus

          I couldn’t agree more, is bugging me to no end. The same action now takes two taps. There is no excuse for that. It makes me tap at least 10 extra times a day compared to ICS. GRRR Google, where was your mind!?

      • Addy

        Yes, the way defaults are set is little different on JB, but ‘Default App Manager’ works perfectly there as well !