Knowing how to change default browser frees you from the restrictions imposed on you by the tech giants.
Microsoft wants you to use its Edge browser on your Windows PC, Apple would like you to use Safari on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and Google pushes you to use Chrome on your Android phone and tablet (and your Chromebook, but that's unavoidable.) And Microsoft seems particularly dogmatic at flagging the Edge browser to you in Windows 11; mercifully, that's not quite to the same degree in Windows 10.
With so many other great web browsers available, including Firefox, Opera, Brave, Vivaldi, and Tor Browser, there's no reason to stick with the default option on your desktop or mobile device. Alternative browsers often offer more innovative features, better privacy, and superior performance to the big guns of the browser world, so why settle for second best?
- The best Android browsers currently available
- Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Edge: Which gobbles the most RAM?
- How to uninstall Microsoft Edge — and stop it reinstalling
Fortunately, it's easy to change your default browser on your computer, phone or tablet, so that web links in other programs and apps always open in your preferred tool for accessing the internet.
In our guide below, we'll explain how to change default browser in Windows 10, macOS, Android, and iOS, in a few simple steps. And, of course, if you decide you prefer Edge, Safari, or Chrome after all, you can switch back to those browsers in the same way.
How to change default browser in Windows 10
Changing your default Windows browser used to be as simple as clicking a button in that browser to switch from your current choice. Windows 10 adds couple of extra steps to the process, but it’s still pretty straightforward. Here’s how to do it.
1. Click the menu button in the top-right corner of the browser you want to switch to. Depending on the browser, this button will have three dots or three lines on it.
When the menu opens, select Settings.
2. On the Settings page that opens, click the option labelled “Make default browser,” “Make Default,” or “Make [browser name] my default browser.”
In Microsoft Edge, select “Default browser” in the left-hand menu to access this option.
3. Windows 10 will now open the “Default apps” section of its Settings app, with your current web browser highlighted.
You can also access this section by clicking the Windows Start button and choosing Settings, Apps, “Default apps.”
4. Click your browser and, when the "Choose an application" menu pops up, select the program that you want to make your default browser.
5. Windows 10 will update its default settings to recognize your new browser. Any links you click in other programs will now open in your preferred browser.
How to change default browser in macOS
Although Apple naturally prefers you to use Safari in macOS, it’s not averse to you changing your default browser — in fact, it makes the process extremely simple. Here’s how to do it.
1. Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and choose System Preferences. When the System Preferences box opens, click General.
2. Click the ‘Default browser” drop-down menu and select the browser you want to use as your default in macOS. If you don’t see its name, try downloading and installing it again.
And that’s it. We told you it was easy in macOS!
How to change default browser in Android
Chrome comes preinstalled on most Android devices, but you don’t have to stick with it as your default if you’d prefer to use a different app for browsing. Here’s how to change the default browser on your Android phone or tablet.
1. Open the Settings app on your Android device and tap either “Apps” or “Apps & notifications,” depending on which option is listed.
2. On the next screen, tap “Advanced” to open a list of additional options, and select “Default apps.”
3. Tap “Browser app” at the top of the screen to open your “Default browser app” selection. Choose the browser you want to use as your default: the app must already be installed on your device.
Exit the Settings app and you’ll find that links now open in your preferred browser. However, if you launch Chrome, it will immediately ask if you want to set it as your default browser again — Android isn't giving up that easily!
How to change default browser on iPhone or iPad
As with macOS, Apple makes changing your default browser in iOS 14 extremely easy. This means you’re not obliged to use Safari on your iPhone or iPad unless you want to. Here’s what to do.
1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and swipe through the left-hand menu until you find the app you want to use as your default browser.
2. Select this app to display its permissions on the right-hand side of your screen. Tap “Default Browser App,” then choose the browser you want to use from the options provided. A check mark will appear to the right of its name.
All done, it’s as simple as that! You can switch back to Safari in the same way, whenever you want. Based on the iOS 15 beta, it also looks like these instructions will stay the same when Apple releases the software updates for both the iPhone and iPad during the fall.