How to change your default apps on the iPhone?

In iOS 13 and previous versions, Apple did not make it possible to change your default apps on iPhone. But as of iOS 14, users can now set their default apps in specific categories. This post explains what default apps are on iPhones, which default apps can be changed, and how to change those default apps step by step.

What are the default apps on the iPhone?

Apple ships iPhones with several preinstalled apps that can handle most tasks right out of the box. iOS will automatically use these preinstalled apps to execute commands on iPhones.

For example, web links open on Safari. Location links open on Apple Maps, and emails open in the Mail app. Below is a list of the 35 default apps that come with iOS 15. Note that most of the default apps cannot be uninstalled.

List of default apps on iPhone in iOS 15

Camera, Photos, Health, Messages, Phone, Mail, Music, Wallet, Safari, Maps, Calendar, iTunes Store, App Store, Notes, Contacts, Books, Home, Weather, Reminders, Clock, TV, Stocks, Calculator, Voice Memos, Compass, Podcasts, Watch, Tips, Find My, Settings, Files, Measure, Magnifier, Shortcuts, Translate.

Why why would you change your default iPhone Apps?

There is an abundance of apps that can perform the same tasks on iOS. And depending on your workflow, other apps can be more convenient than those that come standard with the iPhone.

For example, Google Maps is an excellent alternative to Apple Maps. You may decide to stream music with Spotify or Youtube Music instead of Apple Music.

As a regular Android user, I have become accustomed to Google Chrome, Gmail, and Google Maps. Google apps are available for Android, iOS, and Windows. 

I can start reading something interesting on my Chrome browser on Windows at home. Then forward that webpage from Google Chrome on Windows to Google Chrome on iPhone. That allows me to switch platforms and continue from where I left off.

It works as long as I am logged into my google account on both iPhone and Windows. This continuity feature allows me to synchronize my browsing history between Android, Chrome, and Windows.

Those are just a few of several conveniences you get from using a multi-platform browser like Google Chrome. The Safari browser is not even available on Android, so it cannot be used this way.

How to change the default browser for iPhone

Safari is the default browser web browser for iPhone. That is why your iPhone defaults to using Safari when you click a web link within an app. That is unless the app comes with a built-in browser.

But nowadays, it is possible to switch your default browser from Safari to Google Chrome or any other browser you like. Below is how to do it.

  • Start by installing your desired browser from the App Store on your iPhone.
  • Next open settings.
  • Scroll down until you find the browser app that you want to make your default.
  • Tap on the app to see its options.
  • In this sub-menu, there is a setting named Default Browser App.
  • Safari is usually selected as the Default Browser
  • Tap on the Default Browser App setting.
  • After tapping, you will see all the browsers currently installed on your iPhone.
  • I have already installed Google Chrome on my iPhone. Now, I will switch from Safari to Chrome. 
  • Once I select Google Chrome, the blue tick will move from Safari to Chrome.
  • Upon exiting this menu, the Default Browser App will now be Google Chrome.

How to change the default email app on iPhone?

Mail is the default email app on the iPhone. Each time you open a document and decide to forward it to a friend or colleague by email, the Mail app will automatically be selected to perform this task. 

I prefer to use Gmail over Apple’s default email app. Fortunately, you can also change your default email app on the iPhone. Here is how to do it.

  • Open the App Store and install your preferred mailing app.
  • Once installed, open the settings app.
  • Scroll down until you find the email you want to set as default.
  • Tap on the app to reveal more options.
  • In the Default Mailing App setting, Mail is selected by default.
  • To change it, tap on Default Mailing App.
  • That will open a list of mailing apps installed on your iPhone.
  • I have decided to set Gmail as my default email client.
  • After selecting Gmail, the blue tick moves from Mail to Gmail.
  • From here on, my default mailing app will be Gmail.

How to change the default navigation app on iPhone?

Currently, iOS does not allow you to change the default navigation app. But there is a shortcut to simulate making Google Maps your default navigation map. Click here to read more about that.

If you jailbreak your iPhone, you can change all your default apps. But I do not recommend it goes against the terms of service for the iPhone.

Which other default apps can be changed?

In iOS 14 and above, only two app categories can be changed: Browser and Mailing. On the iPhone, users cannot change other default apps apart from the two mentioned earlier.

List of iOS default apps and suggested alternatives

App CategoriesDefault iOS appAlternative apps
Email AppMail AppGmail, Yahoo Mail, Microsoft Outlook
Web Browser AppSafariFirefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge
Alternative Email and browser apps for iPhone

Can you change default apps on iOS 13 and earlier?

You cannot change default apps if you use iOS 13 and earlier. Your only option will be to upgrade to iOS 14 and above. Apple always wanted all iPhone users to have a similar user experience. That includes using the same apps across their ecosystem (iPhone, iPad, Mac, and iPod).

Can you delete default apps on iPhone?

Yes, you can delete some of the default apps on the iPhone. Since iOS 10 and above, Apple made it possible to delete default apps such as Reminders, Stocks, Home, Watch, Calculator, and a few others.

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