How to force Android apps to open web pages in Chrome


Android apps default to displaying tapped links in WebView. Although this works fine, it can be less than efficient. Find out how to change those apps to default to Chrome.

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

When you tap a link in an Android app, the default action is to open that link within the app, using WebView. Most of the time, this is a serviceable action and will render the page just fine. However, I’ve noticed a number of occasions when the WebView version of the page doesn’t quite function as I expected.

When that happens, I have to tap the WebView menu and then tap Open In Chrome. It’s not hard, but it’s certainly not as efficient as I’d like it to be. Unfortunately, there’s no single configuration option to be had for this. Because of that, you must make the change on a per-app basis.

Let me show you how this is done. I’ll demonstrate with two different apps–Google and Gmail. Once you know how to make this change from these apps, you shouldn’t have any trouble configuring any other app that defaults to WebView over Chrome. 

What you’ll need

The only thing you’ll need to make this work is an Android device running at least Android 8. 

How to configure Google

The first configuration we’re going to make is with the Google app. This will change the default behavior when you click links within a Google search. To make this change, open the Google app from within your app drawer. With the Google app open, tap Settings (Figure A).

Figure A

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The Settings option within the Google app.

From this window, tap General (Figure B).

Figure B

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The Settings window for the Google app.

In the resulting window, scroll down until you see Open Web Pages In The App (Figure C). Tap the On/Off slider until it’s in the Off position.

Figure C

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Configuring Google to open links in Chrome.

You can now dismiss the Settings app.

How to configure Apps

Next, I’ll demonstrate how to configure apps to follow this behavior, by demonstrating with Gmail. To do this, open the Gmail app and tap the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner (Figure D).

Figure D

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The main Gmail app window.

Scroll down until you see Settings (Figure E).

Figure E

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The Settings option in the Gmail app.

In the resulting window, tap General settings. Next, scroll down until you see Open Web Links In Gmail (Figure F). 

Figure F

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Configuring Gmail to use Chrome for links.

Uncheck the box for Open Web Links In Gmail. Once you’ve done that, back out of the settings and you’re good to go.

And that’s all there is to configuring your Android device to open links in Chrome, instead of WebView. Go through all of the apps that default to WebView and configure them in the same way you configured Google and Gmail and you will find your device a bit more efficient to use.

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