October 30, 2020
Ditch Apple Mail and Safari by using iOS 14 and iPadOS 14's new default app feature

Ditch Apple Mail and Safari by using iOS 14 and iPadOS 14’s new default app feature


iOS-14-iPhone-Widgets-Beta

You can finally set default apps on your iPhone or iPad. 


Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

For the first time since ever, Apple is giving users more control over iOS and iPadOS. With the release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, you can now put widgets on the homescreen, and there’s even an app drawer. But perhaps more notably, you can fully ditch Apple’s Mail and Safari apps by selecting another app as your default mail or browser. 

It’s a big step for iPhone ($699 at Amazon) and iPad ($270 at Back Market) users, and one that was sorely overdue. 

The process is really simple, but it’s somewhat hidden. It’s not like Android, where there’s a dedicated section for setting default apps. You have to know where to look, and below, we’ll show you where that is. 

Before we begin, you should know there’s a bug in iOS 14

Apple is aware of a bug in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 that resets your default selections to Apple’s own apps whenever you restart your iPhone or iPad. The company told CNET in a statement that the issue would be fixed in a future update, but for now, that means whenever you restart your device, you’ll need to go through the steps outlined below to set your default app, again. 

default-app-ios-14

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


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Set your default mail or browser

Once your app of choice has updated for iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, adding support to be set as a default app, here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. 

2. Scroll down until you find the app you want to use. For example, find Google Chrome if you want it to be your main browser. Or Outlook if you want to use it as your email app. Then tap it. 

3. Select the appropriate option, either Default Browser App or Default Email App

4. Select the app and back out of settings. 

With a new default app set, anytime you click a link, your preferred browser will open. Or whenever you tap an email address, your email app will launch. It’s about time Apple added this capability. Now if only that bug fix could be released so we don’t have to keep resetting it.

Default apps aren’t the only hidden feature in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 — we found a bunch. Of course, there are some headlining features that change how you’ll use your iPhone or iPad, and there are even some new privacy features that should keep your information more protected. 


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