More choices for iOS web browsing
iOS 14 brings one of the most long-awaited features to Apple’s operating system in years: the ability to change the default browser from Apple’s Safari to a third-party option like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Mozilla Firefox. But you don’t have to wait for Apple to release iOS 14 this fall to break free of Safari. If you’ve got the iOS 14 beta installed, you can already switch to another default browser today. Here’s how to do it.
To start, you’ll need to be running the latest iOS 14 beta. (To install that, check out our guide here.) Once that’s set up, you’ll need to have a compatible third-party browser installed.
For Google Chrome, simply download the regular Chrome app from the App Store; Google’s already updated its app with support for iOS 14, so you’re good to go right out of the box.
Microsoft Edge is a little more complicated. Right now, Edge has only added iOS 14 default browser support for beta testers. In a related coincidence, iOS beta tracker Departures notes that the Microsoft Edge TestFlight beta has completely filled up as of earlier today (although you can monitor here for when slots free up). The process will remain the same, though, whenever Microsoft updates the final version of Edge, which presumably should be coming soon.
Unsurprisingly, Apple has buried the option to switch your default browser pretty deeply. To find the menu, you’ll have to go to the Settings app, then scroll down (or search) to find your browser’s app-specific settings. Once there, tap the new Default Browser App option, and then select your browser of choice from the list that appears. Obviously, only browsers that support iOS 14’s new feature will be listed, so expect that list of options to grow over time as more developers update their apps in the coming weeks.
Once you’ve set that, all links you tap on your phone will automatically open in Chrome (or whatever other browser you’ve selected). To switch back, simply follow the process listed here, but select Safari instead of a third-party option. Additionally, iOS 14 is still in beta, which means Apple may change this process as it finalizes its software before the final release; we’ll continue to update this post should that happen.
Of course, choosing your default browser on iOS is largely a symbolic gesture. Given that Apple forces all third-party browsers to use Safari’s WebKit browser engine, all iOS browsers should work more or less the same. That makes it largely a cosmetic choice built around which app has nicer features layered on top rather than something that will drastically change how you use the internet on your phone. Still, it’s nice to at least have the option.