Your computer or mobile device uses a specific browser as the default. In Windows 10, that’s Microsoft Edge. In Windows 8.1 and 7, it’s Internet Explorer. On a Mac, iPhone, or iPad, the default is Safari. And on an Android device, the default may be Google Chrome, the stock Android browser, or something else.
But you don’t have to stick with that default. By changing it, any link, HTML file, or other web-based file you click will open in your browser of choice. Let’s look at how to do this for each type of operating system and platform.
In Windows 10, Microsoft has replaced Internet Explorer with Edge, which recently got a Chromium-based overhaul. Naturally, Microsoft recommends that you stick with its browser, but you can change it. Open the Windows 10 Settings menu and navigate to Apps > Default Apps. Scroll down and click Web browser, where you can choose from Edge, Firefox, Chrome, IE, Opera, or find another one in the Microsoft Store
In Windows 8.1, you are initially stuck with Internet Explorer as the default browser, but you can switch it out by opening the Charms bar and clicking the Settings icon. At the Settings pane, click Change PC Settings > Search and apps > Defaults.From here, the process is similar to that in Windows 10; click the current default for Web browser and change it to the browser of your choice.
In Windows 7, Internet Explorer is again the default, but the process for changing that is different than in Windows 10 and 8.1, as you have to go through Control Panel. In Windows 7, open Control Panel in icon view. Click the icon for Default Programs.
At the Default Programs window, click the link to Set your default programs.
Select the browser you want to set as the default. Notice that the status indicates the browser currently has 0 of a certain number of defaults. Click the option to Set this program as default, and the status should change to say the browser has all its defaults.
Browser by Browser
You can also open each browser to set it as the default. To do this in Google Chrome, for example, click the three-dot icon in the upper right and go to Settings. Click the setting for Default browser and then click the button to Make default. In Firefox, click the hamburger icon in the upper right and select Options. In the General section, click the button to Make default. In each case, however, going through the browser simply takes you to Settings in Windows 10 or 8.1 and Control Panel in Windows 7 to make the change.
Changing the default browser on a Mac is simple and quick. On your Mac, click the Apple menu, open System Preferences, and click the General icon. In the General screen, click the drop-down box next to Default web browser and change the selection to your preferred program.
iOS and iPadOS
Apple limits what you can do on iPhone and iPad, and that includes changing the default browser. You can install Firefox, Chrome, Edge, or any other browser on your device, but you’re stuck with Safari as the default. You can sneak around Apple’s restrictions by jailbreaking your device and using a number of tweaks to switch the default browser, but few people actually want to do that. Instead, you can make it easier to use an alternative browser.
One way is by simply moving its icon to the dock. Press down on the icon for the browser you want to move until the Quick Actions menu appears. Tap the option to Edit Home Screen.
After the icons start jiggling, drag your preferred browser icon to the dock. Swipe up on the screen or tap the Done button in the upper right to stop the jiggling.
Another option is to send a webpage to another browser through the Share pane. To do this in Safari, open the page you want to view in a different browser. Tap the Share icon and swipe through the row of app icons. If you see the browser you want to use, tap it. If not, tap the More icon at the end and look through the list of suggestions for your preferred browser, then tap its icon. A notification will pop up for Chrome or Firefox (but not for Edge), asking how you want to view the page. Tap Open in Chrome or Open in Firefox to see it in one of those browsers.
Depending on which device and version of Android you have, the default browser will either be Chrome, the stock Android browser, or a browser specific to the manufacturer, such as the Samsung Internet Browser. To change this to a different program, you can go through the browser itself or try to find the option in Settings. Let’s take the first approach.
To change the default to Firefox, open Firefox, tap the three-dot icon in the upper right, select Settings, then tap the option to Make Firefox your default browser. Tap the entry for Browser app and change the default to Firefox.
To change the default to Microsoft Edge, open Edge. Tap the three-dot icon in the upper right and select Settings. Swipe down the Settings screen and tap the option to Set default browser. At the window to Always browse with Microsoft Edge, tap Change default apps. This takes you to the appropriate settings screen. Tap the entry for Browser app and set it to Edge.
To set the default to Google Chrome, you have to go directly to the corresponding settings screen. Using this process, you can also change the default to any browser. Swipe down the top of the screen and tap the gear icon to go to Settings. In the Settings screen, look for a setting for Apps or Apps & notifications. Open the list of all installed apps. Tap the name of the browser you want to set as the default.
Swipe down the info screen for that app. If you see a setting for Browser app, tap it. Change the selection to Chrome or whichever browser you prefer.
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