From the color and style of your app icons to your preferred manner of system navigation, Android gives you a lot of options for customizing your phone. Your default app for basic operations like making calls and texting can also be customized. Perhaps you’d rather use a web browser with additional privacy features or Alexa instead of Google Assistant. It only takes a few clicks to download the app of your choice and set it as the default.
For reference, these are the types of apps to which you can assign new defaults:
- Web browser
- Caller ID and spam blocker
- Digital assistant
- Home app (aka launcher)
- SMS (chat)
These are the steps to change the default SMS app on your phone, which runs Android 11, however, the procedure is the same for any of the aforementioned apps. On a Google Pixel 6, the processes are the same.
To make a new app the default, go to the Play Store and download it.
- Go to Settings > Apps and tap Default apps under “General.”
- Choose an app to replace — in my instance, the SMS app. The current default app, as well as any other SMS apps you’ve downloaded, will appear on the following menu page.
- Choose the app you wish to be your default.
- Change your default browser, SMS app, and other settings.
If you want to modify your home screen experience with a new launcher, follow the same instructions. Niagara, for example, may rearrange your home screen and app drawer to make it easier to use one-handed. Nova is another popular choice because of its adaptability. A fresh launcher is a strong method to change up the day-to-day experience of using your phone if you truly want to tinker. Look for the Home app selection on the Default apps tab to make your new launcher the default.
HOW TO HANDLE LINKS
You may also adjust how your phone handles links while you’re out and about. You may set it up so that Google Play Store links open in the app store rather than a web browser, for example. You can examine whether installed apps are set to open specific links and choose whether the system should do so automatically or prompt you each time you click one.
- At the bottom of the Default app menu screen, tap Opening links.
- Select the program you wish to change the behavior for from the list of installed apps.
- Open supported links by tapping (or toggling on).
- On some devices, you may have the choice to have the phone ask you whether you want to open links or to have it open them immediately in the app without asking.
Finally, you can customize your Instant Apps choices for Android. Instant Programs, which are simply miniature versions of full apps that run without having to download and install them, are already enabled on your device if you’re running Android 5.0 or higher. Instant Apps are used by some game producers to allow you to try out a game without having to download the entire package. If you install and launch the Google Play Games app, you’ll notice this. Some games have an “Instant play” symbol next to them, which allows you to play the game right away without having to download it.
This function is enabled by default, and you’ll see it toggled next to Instant Apps on the Opening links menu page. By choosing Instant applications options and selecting Upgrade web links, you may take it a step further and enable Instant Apps links in your browser.
Android Instant Apps appear to be losing favor with developers, so you might not see them in the wild, but activating them via web links isn’t a bad idea and could save you the trouble of having to download another app in the future.