IOS and iPadOS users have long wanted to change default email and browser apps. Many native iOS apps are great, but Mail and Safari don’t always do the trick. Finally, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 will allow users to set third-party apps as their default browsers and email clients, but Apple has issued guidelines that apps will need to meet to be allowed by default.
Why this is necessary
You might be saying you can use any browser or messaging app whenever you want, and that’s true – to a point. If you want to send an email, of course you can go to the Gmail or Spark (my new favorite) app and use it. If you want something on Google, go to Chrome or Firefox.
However, if you click on a link to send an email, it will open the iOS Mail app. If you click on a link in another app, it will take you to Safari. But you might want Gmail and Firefox. iOS 14 will allow you to set the default settings so that clicking on the links will take you to your desired apps.
Apple default app guidelines
Many wonder how it will work and what apps it will work with. The betas for iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 still don’t allow you to change default apps, much of that is unknown. More of this was provided in the documentation provided by Apple for developers.
First and foremost, Apple insists on receiving a direct request. Default applications must use a specific right, but it is not enough to use it. The app will be rejected unless an email is sent to Apple, specifically requesting permission to be used as the default app.
For web browsers, the company requires that basic browser functions be provided, as it will be your primary point of access to the web. The browser should have a text field to enter the URL and search terms, and it should also offer bookmark lists. Browser apps cannot be created using UIWebView and must use the latest WKWebView.
Browsers should send users to the app they requested and provide alerts for suspicious content or other possible difficulties.
“Applications that redirect to unexpected locations or display content not specified in the destination’s source code do not meet the requirements for a default web browser,” Apple explained.
Apps that access unnecessary personal data, such as what’s on HomeKit, the Health app, and location services that are still active, are also rejected.
The same goes for messaging apps that want to be used by default. Default email apps should also provide the basic functionality of sending and receiving content from any email address. Apple also mentioned that it will allow messaging apps that offer user-controlled incoming message filtering features.
Each app will be reviewed to see if it meets the requirements to be used as the default app. These strict guidelines will prevent the use of non-browser and non-email applications.
For the user, once you install iOS after its fall release, you will be able to change your default browser and email apps in the Settings app. So far, it’s not included in the beta versions of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, but that makes sense since Apple just released the guidelines.
Find out what to expect in iOS 14, and learn everything you need to know.
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