Monday, July 23, 2018

Apple: Don’t Default on Default Apps

Dan Moren:

For users, the benefits of choosing default apps is obvious. Right now if you tap a web link in most apps you get taken to Safari, regardless of whether you’d rather use Chrome or Firefox. The same for mail links: if you’d rather compose your messages in Outlook or Gmail, you have to jump through some hoops to make it happen.


Developers who compete directly with Apple’s built-in apps (like Mail, Safari, and Calendar) have always had an uphill battle ahead of them. How do you take on an app that’s installed on every single iPhone for free? Especially when your app will always be a second-class citizen. Allowing users to choose their own default apps won’t fix all of those problems, but it will go a ways toward making these apps viable for even more people.

Nick Heer:

Since you can now remove Mail, in particular, from iOS, this seems like it should be a natural next step. If you tap on a mailto: link without Mail being installed any more, you get an error message telling you that no apps are installed that can handle that type of link. But that’s awkward, confusing, and only partially true — no apps are available because no other apps are allowed to register themselves as capable of handling mailto: links.

Previously: Choosing iOS Default Apps.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

Keep in mind that Apple receives a lot of money from Google for being the default search on iOS. Making Safari replacement would kinda endanger this deal with Google.

I understand that point, but still, most people tend to accept defaults and email isn't constrained by such a business relationship anyway. I think the real sticking point is how many iPhones will just become Google/Microsoft/Facebook phones that happen to run iOS if you allow users to change default apps.

[…] apps also get to use private APIs and daemons, have greater access to public APIs, act as default apps, and have privileged access to the lock screen, Control Center, and Siri. They’re also […]

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