It's Time for iOS Default Apps

In 2009, the European Commission and Microsoft came to an agreement to provide a screen that offers the user a choice as to which browser should be opened by default upon the selection of a web link. It's time that people demanded the same of Apple. Already, Apple's own applications are being steadily replaced with better alternatives. Many people choose to use different camera applications because they are faster, provide better image stabilization features, or simply provide fun filters. I choose to use Chrome when possible as my browser. However, there are times when I am not able to exercise this choice. In particular, this is when the operating system's ability to highlight text areas that match a web link is used to open that link in a browser.

Similarly, this is true for other items: text that looks like addresses will always open in Apple's maps app, which we all know to be a disaster when it comes to finding locations, and for which we have an alternative.

There are certain ways to change your default browser or other applications, but they generally void your ability to get support from your carrier and are difficult for the average person to use.

Apple should:

  • Provide for selection of a default web browser
  • Provide for selection of a default maps application
  • Allow applications to provide default sheets, such as send mail, take photo, pick photo, send message, etc.

There are signs that iOS has the functionality to allow this already. When pressed, I'm sure Apple will come up with arguments indicating that disallowing these choices keeps the platform secure and keeps the quality of user experience very high. However, we should remind ourselves that neither Firefox nor Chrome (and for that matter, Safari) would have gained popularity without that original decision.