Apple is finally allowing iPhone and iPad owners to alter default email and browser apps in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. The company briefly revealed the major change during a slide in the WWDC keynote today, noting that the updates allow users to “set default email and browser apps.”
Apple didn’t detail this change fully during its keynote, but a section of the iOS 14 preview page says you can “set a default web browser and email app that launch when you click a link or want to compose a new mail message.” The company confirmed to The Verge that developers will have to update their apps in order to support the feature.
Apple has only mentioned browser and email apps so far, so it’s likely limited to just these two types of apps rather than broader default apps for digital assistants or music apps. The change to default email and browser apps will now allow iPad and iPhone owners to select email apps like Gmail or Outlook to handle email links by default, or Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and many other browsers as the default to handle web links throughout iOS 14 and iPadOS 14.
Unfortunately, Apple has also confirmed that third-party browsers will still be required to use Apple’s WebKit as their underlying browsing engine, so the main differences from Safari will be in user interface and syncing options.
Update, June 22nd, 3:00PM ET: The article has been updated to reflect that the new default apps customization is also available on iOS 14.
Update, June 22nd, 4:50PM ET: Added information about WebKit requirements and developers needing to add support for the default app option.