One of the questions I get a lot is how to reset default apps in the Android platform. This need can come about after trying out a new application, only to find you like the app but do not want it to serve as your default.

A perfect example of this is web browsers. Many users will install multiple browser to fill a need that isn’t met by the default. That doesn’t mean they want the new browser to server as the default browser — they simply want to use the newly installed browsers for specific sites.

However, what happens when you install that new browser and accidentally accept it as the default, pressing Always instead of Just once ( Figure A)?

Figure A

Selecting the default browser on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy S4.

If you’ve selected a default and want to clear that, the process is actually quite simple. This is done on a per-application basis. There isn’t a “Default Applications” app where you can go and select an option to be set as the default. Instead, you set the default as needed, and you unset the default as needed. However, you don’t have to set a default. When prompted, you can always choose Just once so you always have the options available when a tapped action requires the opening of another application.

When you’ve set a default, here’s how you clear it:

  1. Tap the device menu button
  2. Tap Settings
  3. Locate the Application manager (on the Galaxy S4, it’s under More)
  4. Swipe to the left until you get to the All section
  5. Scroll down until you find the application that’s set as the default (such as Internet for the built-in web browser)
  6. Tap the entry for the application
  7. Tap Clear defaults (Figure B)

Figure B

If you tap Clear data, all settings will be removed from that particular app.

Once you’ve cleared the defaults, you’ll be prompted again to select the default (or to open the app Just once).

It may sound like a confusing system, but once you get the hang of it, setting and unsetting default applications on the Android platform is really quite simple.