Change default app settings in Android Jelly Bean

Google_android_logoHave you ever installed two Android apps which perform exactly the same functions? I believe you might have installed two browsers – maybe Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox? You may also have noticed that if you click a link (URL) in an Android app it will ask you to select which browser to use.

You will be offered a menu option ‘Complete action using’ along with the opportunity to choose whether you use that browser ‘Always’ or ‘Just once’ . If you decide to select ‘Always’ after tapping your browser of choice, it will remember that this is the default browser of choice. The problem for users is that if you want to change the default browser it’s not that easy to find how to do it in Android.

For the purpose of this post I set Chrome as the default browser on a ‘vanilla’ Android Jelly Bean 4.2.1 (on a Galaxy Nexus) as well as Jelly Bean 4.1.2 on a Samsung Galaxy S3. As you will see there is little or no difference in how you get to change default app settings:

  • In Android 4.2.1 you need to pull down the notification bar with two fingers and you immediately get the quick settings. Android 4.1.2 just pull down the notification bar with one finger
  • Click the > Settings icon top right (Galaxy Nexus) or the sprocket (Galaxy Galaxy S3)
  • Scroll down to Apps (Galaxy Nexus) or Applications Manager (Samsung Galaxy S3)
  • Scroll down and tap on Chrome and scroll down again until you see ‘Launch by default’
  • Tap > Clear defaults button and you will now see the words ‘No defaults set’ to the left of the button
  • You also have the option to ‘Reset app preferences’ from Apps (Galaxy Nexus) > click on the option icon (located at the top right corner of the screen) > select ‘Reset app preferences’. For the Samsung Galaxy S3 you should tap the menu button and select > ‘Reset app preferences’

Note: Not all apps require launch defaults – if you also use Firefox (but not as default), you will of course see ‘No defaults set’

Safe surfing folks!


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38 Responses to Change default app settings in Android Jelly Bean

  1. Conrad says:

    awesome post! totally saved my bacon – thanks!

  2. Julian says:

    To all my readers – If you are using Android 4.2.2 you can still use my instructions mentioned in this post. Safe surfing folks!

  3. Firas says:

    I’ve galaxy note 2 &i got this massage (clear default app settings by going to settings applications manage all) please advice me what to do?

  4. ashwani says:

    On my Samsung SG3,
    I have text messaging I guess android default
    Which I do not see in App Manager
    How to reset it’s default settings.

    I do not want to go through

    I appreciate this post

    Thank you.

  5. zatnik says:

    Great, thanks so much for posting this.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Thanks a million! I used this info to fix my defaults for my texting. It was driving me nuts!!!

  7. Julian says:

    This post is certainly proving popular for my readers! Glad it is helping everyone!

  8. peter woods says:

    On my s3 mini the menu button gives me no options to reset app preference.

  9. Dave says:

    I accidently told my phone to always use chrome to play links to SoundCloud music. Now my soundcloud app is effectively worthless. I’ve tried “reset app preferences” and hit the “Clear Defaults” button on the settings for all related apps, but it’s still opening in Chrome. I even uninstalled Chrome and tried it. It just did nothing at all. I’m at a loss. Any thoughts?

  10. Flicky Licky says:

    Done this 100 times. I cannot set any program to be the default. I ALWAYS get asked which app I want to use. A phone call now takes 5 clicks instead of 3. Sounds petty, but its annoying

  11. Billy says:

    Thanks a lot Julian.
    You have saved my trip to the mobile shop.

  12. desmond says:

    im still having an issue, how do i get the gps app to not use the google gps system? i was using navigator and it suddenly stopped asking what gps i would like to use and just opens google’s gps

    • Julian says:

      #desmond# If you use a Samsung S3 for example, you can > Settings > Location Services and uncheck ‘Location and Google search’. Alternatively you can upgrade to Android 4.3 and you will be able to enable/disable GPS and Google’s Fused Location Provider. I’d also suggest you note: ‘Wi-Fi & mobile network location’ option, which you might want to disable as this lets apps use Google’s location services to estimate your location faster.

  13. Bill says:

    How can I do this for Phone vs Skype? Skype is set to no defaults but I can’t find the similar setting for the built in phone app. Tnx

    • Julian says:

      #Bill# You cannot reset the phone app from the UI.

      • Bill says:

        Before when I clicked the phone icon on a contact’s page, I was given the option of using the built in Phone app or Skype. I like that because some contacts are local and some are overseas and I could choose the most economical and convenient app to use. I guess I must have clicked Always once instead of Just Once. Now it always uses the Phone app. If there is no UI way to reset this, is there another way? Registry? Some database entry? Reset the entire phone to factory settings? I’m pretty new to Android so I just don’t know what can be done. Thanks.

        • Julian says:

          #Bill# From the Home screen, press the Menu button, select Settings, scroll down and select Application manager, press the Menu button again and select Reset app preferences. This will reset all your apps but this approach will fix your dialler/Skype problem. 🙂

          • Bill says:

            Hi Julian. I tried that and it didn’t help. I also restarted the phone after trying and still didn’t work. My phone is an S4, so the directions you gave weren’t exactly right, but I did find what you wanted me to find. Is there any other idea? Thanks.

  14. chioma says:

    Great! Thnx a lot 4 this post. Was so worried about how to change the setting but u’v made my day. It worked!

  15. Peregrin says:

    I am having the same problem as @Flicky Licky. Once you’ve cleared the default, how do you set a different one?

    “If you decide to select ‘Always’ after tapping your browser of choice, it will remember that this is the default browser of choice.”

    This NEVER works, ever. It’s really frustrating! Is there any other way to get it to work?

  16. Jeremy says:

    I need help. I accidentally clicked on the “Always Use” button when dealing with ringtones and notifications. I was using Zedge, and now I can’t get back to Zedge because it always goes to the default ringtones/notifications in the phone. How can I get the option to use Zedge again for my ringtones and notifications? Thank for any help. I have a Galaxy S2 with Android 4.1.2

  17. sheldon says:

    Can u help me to reset the always button for bluetooth sharing.I am unable to send files via bluetooth due to this

    • Julian says:

      #sheldon# Tao > Clear Data click OK then > Clear cache and tap HOME button then go to settings > bluetooth and attempt to pair your device.

  18. MischelleValadez says:

    I need help. I accidentally clicked on the “Always Use” button when dealing with ringtones and notifications. I was using Zedge, and now I can’t get back to Zedge because it always goes to the default ringtones/notifications in the phone. How can I get the option to use Zedge again for my ringtones and notifications? Thank for any help. I have a Galaxy S2 with Android 4.1.2

    • Julian says:

      #MischelleValadez# Uninstall the Zedge app and then reboot your device. Reinstall Zedge and see what happens. 🙂

  19. Edwin says:

    How About ‘Complete Action Using’ Default Launcher For Setting Wallpaper For JB 4.1.2?I Accidentally Press ‘Always’ For Selecting Wallpaper And The ‘Complete Action Using’ Is Gone.How To Set Back To The Default Launcher Again For Wallpaper.

  20. Debopam says:

    Unable to share multiple marked files via bluetooth, plz any solution

  21. ted chucks says:

    i have an android version 4.2.1
    the kernel version
    build number

    • ted chucks says:

      i have a problem with changing the factory settings in managing my whatts app application hence need asistance as to how do i get rid of the factory app need to change to whatts+

  22. I have a galaxy 3 it forced an update to kit kat which is now cloud has never worked from yhe beginning and Verizon is a pain.Ive never seen any messages ive backed up and restored..They have them and I have been fighting for 15 months.The messages I need were on hangouts and I can’t open it because its a zip file..Ive been with Verizon since 1999..Hate it!

  23. nilani says:

    Hi Julian. I’m having trouble with downloading Soundcloud. I’m using a Samsung galaxy S2 version 4.1.2. I pressed “install” and “accept” but the feedback I got was saying that I have insufficient space. I’m left with 2gb on my phone storage and the app is 13mb. Can you tell me why its like this?

  24. Daisy says:

    I downloaded music to my Galaxy A3 and lost recent Gallery photos. All safe in Photo but can’t get on with it. Can’t get Gallery back as default. In App Manager the option to make Default is greyed out. Any ideas please? TIA

  25. jinu says:

    i did not get option “reset app preference ” in application manager

  26. Prophet says:

    Please i use k touch T60 and it cant connect to the internet. How do i set it?

  27. hedles says:

    I normally use Chrome browser on my Siii mini Android Jelly Bean (4.1.2).

    This morning I accidentally touched “Always” to open a link when it was selecting the default (“Internet”) app.

    I followed your instructions to Chrome browser in the App manager expecting to be able to select it as the default (and then cancel it again as you described) in the “Launch by default” section, but the only option/button, “Clear defaults” is, unsurpisingly, greyed out.

    The default “Internet” app does not appear in the list of Apps in App manager, so I can’t go there to “Clear defaults”.

    I’m reluctant to “Reset app preferences” because I don’t know what else it will affect – it seems to have quite a wide scope: “Reset all preferences for: Disabled apps, Disabled app notifications, Default applications for actions, Background data restrictions for apps . . .”

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