iOS 14 for iPhone and iPadOS 14 for iPad has some major new features coming to it later this year. However, one of the most anticipated features is the ability to set a third-party web browser as the default browser on your iPhone.
iPhone Browser History Pre-iOS 14
Apple is largely–and rightly–credited with making the first true mobile web browser that was easy to use. This goes back all the way to the original iPhone when the operating system was known as “iPhone OS 1.0.” While this operating system was archaic by today’s standards, it did bundle in the Safari mobile web browser.
Safari is the browser that has remained the default browser on the iPhone in every iteration of iOS since. And Safari has come a LONG way since its early days. In iPadOS, specifically, its very comparable to a desktop-class browser. And even on iPhone, Safari is approaching desktop-class.
In the years since the iPhone debuted, other browsers have made their way to the device, including Chrome and Firefox. However, these browsers were never able to be set as the default browser on the iPhone, meaning, though you already had, say, Chrome, installed, and link tapped in an email or elsewhere would open in Safari by default.
With iOS 14, Apple is now allowing users to set other third-party browsers as the default iPhone browser.
Why Would You Want To Change Your Default Browser On iPhone?
Safari is a browser than 99.9% of iPhone owners are fine using. Its a Terri browser and has deep integration with the Apple ecosystem. For example, Safari syncs your history between Apple devices so you can access your online activities and pick up with them from any Apple device you own.
However, some people like to use other browsers on Safari. People tied to Google’s ecosystem might prefer to use Chrome, for example. Or people who enjoy open-source software, might prefer Firefox. While every browser has the same ability–to display web pages–every browser also has a little different user interface and features. And some users may prefer these differences to what Safari has to offer.
Why Might You NOT Want To Change Your Default Browser On iPhone?
The good thing about Safari–and why you might want to stay with it–is because it has MASSIVE privacy protections built-in. It blocks third-party cookies, stops cross-site tracking, and much much more. Safari in iOS 14 is even gaining MORE privacy protections, too.
Another reason you might not want to change your default browser on the iPhone is that, as mentioned, Safari automatically syncs your browsing data to your other Apple devices you use that have Safari on them. This means all your bookmarks, logins, history, and more are at your fingertips no matter which Apple device you are using.
How To Change The Default Web Browser On The iPhone In iOS 14
But let’s say you want to change the default browser on your iPhone. How do you go about that? First, you need three things:
- An iPhone running iOS 14 or later.
- A third-party web browser downloaded to your iPhone–BUT this third-party browser needs to have support for iOS 14’s ability to change the default browser built in.
It may take a little while for all browsers to support this ability, but Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox should support it pretty quickly.
Once you’ve got both of the above, here’s how to change the default browser in iOS 14:
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Scroll down until you see the settings for the browser you want to set as default (Firefox, for example. Tap the browser’s name to open its settings screen.
- Under “ALLOW [browser name] TO ACCESS,” tap Default Browser App.
- On the next screen, tap the name of the browser you have installed and want to use. In the promo that appears, tap the confirmation button asking if you want to set the browser as the default browser.
Once the above is done, your new default browser will be the one you just selected and any links from messages, emails, or other places will not open in the default browser you’ve chosen.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.