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Home / Tips and Tricks / Ditch Apple’s Mail and Safari apps on your iPhone or iPad with iOS 14’s default app feature

Ditch Apple’s Mail and Safari apps on your iPhone or iPad with iOS 14’s default app feature



iOS-14-iPhone-Widgets-Beta

We show you how to set default apps on your iPhone or iPad.

Óscar Gutiérrez / CNET

One of the proudest bragging rights Android owners have used against it iPhone Owners have had the option over the years to change the default apps their phones use. Well, that and the ability to completely customize their home screen.

With the release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, you feel Apple loosening its grip on the iPhone and iPad by adding the option to place widgets on iPhone home screen, to make custom app icons and, while somewhat limited, change the default email and web browsing apps.

That means you can use Gmail or Google Chrome – or any other app of your choice – and eventually leave Safari and Apple Mail behind. It’s a big step for the iPhone ($ 599 at Apple) and iPad ($ 294 at Amazon) users, and one that was very late.

The process of changing your default email and browser app is very simple, but also somewhat hidden. Apple doesn’t make it as easy as Android, where there is a dedicated section for setting default apps in the settings. You need to know where to look, and below we’ll show you where that is.

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It’s true, you can set some default apps on iOS 14.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Set your default email or browser

To use another app as an email or web browser replacement, the developer must update the app with support for the new feature. Make sure to check it out App Store for updates before trying to change your default app. Here’s what to do.

Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. Scroll down until you find the app you want to use. For example, search for Google Chrome if you want it to be your main browser. Or Outlook if you want to use it as your email app and tap it. Select either the correct option Default browser app or Default email app. Choose from the list of available apps on the next screen and exit the settings.

With a new default app set, every time you click on a link, your browser of choice will open. Or when you tap on an email address, your email app will launch. It’s time for Apple to add this capability. If now only that bug fix can be released so we don’t have to reset it over and over again.

Default apps aren’t the only hidden feature in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 – we found a few. Of course there are some headliner features that change how you start using your iPhone or iPad, and there are even some new ones privacy features to better protect your information.


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