Setting and Removing Default Apps for Actions
There are literally thousands of apps in the Play Store to choose from. Sometimes, these apps may have one or two nifty features we want, while other features are only available in a similar app. We end up installing a lot of apps to make sure all our bases are covered when we need it. The fact is, these apps are becoming variedly useful. Many apps can do similar things or also respond to similar actions. Why, sharing a photo from the gallery is sure to unleash a load of apps that can take the action initiated by your gallery.
While it may be necessary to keep all those apps ready just in case that the next time you perform an action, it you will have the option to use that app, there are cases when we want only one app to perform a specific function.
For that purpose, Android has the ability to lock a specific app to respond to action requests by other apps. This way, anytime a certain action is requested by an app, the right app will always launch and you can skip the tedious part of having to choose which app to use every time.
Setting a Default App
For today’s example, we will set the SMS messenger as the default app to go to when you tap the “send a message” icon from the contacts, logs, contact menus, and after call menus. This way, whenever you see that little SMS icon in your contacts or contact actions, it will take you straight to the SMS app.
I usually do this with my own phone since I have several other apps that can also receive the SMS function but I don’t want to use these apps. I solely want to use the SMS app when sending a message to a contact from the contact screen. Here is what I see when the default is not yet set:
As you can see, there are other apps like Viber and Facebook messenger which may indeed send an SMS, but I want to make sure all SMS purposes are handled only by the default SMS app. Another case where this may be useful is if you have an SMS app replacement such as GO SMS and you want GO SMS to handle all your SMS needs.
To start, you need to initiate the action. Similar to what I have done earlier to show you the list of apps that are available, tap the messaging icon in a contact page and the popup will appear.
From here, choose the app you want to use, then tap on the “Always” button. From here on out, all your SMS needs will be handled by the app of your choice.
Instead of launching a popup, the action would directly launch the app you need, which will make the operation of the phone seem much smoother.
Removing a Default App
Ok, so it is indeed very useful to set a default app to save time and to have things flowing more smoothly. Still, there will come a time when you need to remove that default app setting because you might want to use a different app as the default, or you don’t want to have any app serve as the default for SMS anymore.
For this example, I will want to remove the SMS app as the default because I have recently installed GO SMS and I want to use that as the default instead. To achieve this is not a simple or visible as setting a default app. You would have to navigate through the settings and reach the Application Manager setting.
From here, navigate to your SMS app. Since the app we set as the default is a system app, you won’t be able to find it in the “Downloaded” tab. You need to go to the “All” tab and look for the SMS app there. Tap the app you set as default when you find it.
You will be taken to a page displaying some parameters of the app you selected. Scroll down and you will find a “Launch by Default” heading. There should be a button there that says “Clear Defaults”. That setting is grayed out if there are no defaults currently set for the app in question. Tap that option and go back to the contacts page.
In the contacts page, try to tap the messaging icon again. Notice that the lists of available apps are now available again. This time, I can set Go SMS Pro as the default messaging app to use or any other app I may want to set at the time.
Remove all Defaults
There are some cases when you have set so many default apps that you may want to just clear them out altogether. This is very useful if you have many defaults you want to remove, or in the unlikely case when you have set a default app and you can’t seem to remove the default action individually. For cases like this, Android has built in a master reset function, which should enable the user to easily remove all defaults set so that the user can simply start over.
To access this option, simply go to your Applications Manager and press the menu key. There should be an option that says “Reset App Preferences”. Tap this option and read the due warnings. It’s no big deal though. You may have to re-disable and remove notifications again manually, but at least you don’t have to remove defaults one by one.
Manage Through an App
Android shares a lot in-between apps. There are plenty of functions and actions that can be carried out by several different apps at once. Sure, it may be easy enough just to set it when you encounter it the first time, but maybe you want to set a whole lot of defaults. You don’t have time to go and do each and every action just to set the default right away.
If that is the case, there is an app for that. The app called “Default App Manager” or DAM for short was developed by Appiator. This app lets you manually set the default app to use for every situation that may call for a list of apps to use. This way, you can also set your default music player, your default personal voice assistant, your default browser, and maybe even your default launcher.
There is a free and a paid version of this app and it lets you easily set and reset defaults using a more intuitive interface than the current default interface of the Android operating system.