Complete Action Dialogue

Ryan writes,

I need to know how to change the default option for choosing photos under Facebook Messenger. The current option is File Expert and I do not know how to change it back to gallery. I need help with this.

One of Android's best features is the ability to choose default apps -- but how do you clear defaults and choose again?

When you use a sharing or file handling action in an app -- such as attaching a picture in Facebook Messenger -- and have multiple apps that can handle the job, you'll be given a dialogue like the one you see above. You can choose which app you want to handle the action this time, and can select (accidentally or not) to always use that app to handle actions of that type. If you've made the wrong choice, or would like to use another app once, it's an easy fix.

Default App Settings Default App Settings

While the absolute specifics will vary depending on the version of Android and manufacturer of your device, the general process will be the same. Head to your device settings, then app settings and scroll through your apps until you find the one that you want to clear as a default handler. In Ryan's case, he'll want to find "File Expert" in his apps list, tap it and scroll down to "Launch by default", where there will be an illuminated button labeled "Clear defaults".

Hit that button, and the next time you visit any app that can use File Expert (or whatever app you've selected) to handle actions, you'll be given the option to choose from all available apps once again. Remember that if you just want to use a particular app a single time, you can select the "Just once" option when choosing -- the same dialogue will pop up again the next time you come back to the app.

Choose wisely this time around and you won't be diving back into the settings to clear defaults as often.

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Reader comments

From the mail bag: How do I clear default applications?


I do still think android could do a better job of making this visible. For the technically inclined like us it is simple but it is buried fairly deeply in the settings for the average user.

They should have a section in the root of the settings called "default apps" where all the defaults that have been applied are shown and can be revoked or changed.

Yes they should.
In fact if you want to know which apps have a default action associated, there is only one app that can tell you that information that I'm aware of.

Seems like this could and should be a bit easier/transparent.

This is a very good suggestion! The majority of android users aren't tech savvy and don't visit sites like this. Making things like this easily accessible, which makes it easier to manage, should be a no brainer for Google by now. I like that they hid developer options from the average user like they have, so they don't tinker with what they don't understand and mess everything up, but things like this should be a bit more "un-hidden"

Posted via Android Central App

I normally get a little frustrated about post like this, but I had to realize that there are a lot of people that come to Android from other platforms. Platforms that don't allow for customization or choice. There are also people that buy these devices just because it's cool to be on Android. In any case these types of post benefit those that that have join Android's ecosystem and never thought this OS is more than a name and a pretty phone.

From the DARK AC App!

At this point this should just make a basic beginners guide to android, probably bring a lot of people to the site, and this is a good thing because there will always be new people on and coming to android.

At this point this should just make a basic beginners guide to android, probably bring a lot of people to the site, and this is a good thing because there will always be new people on and coming to android.

Yeah, I discovered that on the Galaxy S4, hitting that little reset button also re-enables all the apps you had disabled. So, if you disabled Verizon Navigator, it will come back to life so it can be one of the options to choose from again.

I wasn't aware that clearing the default also un-disabled apps. Might have to check that.

Took me a while to learn that you can double-tap an app choice in the "open with" dialog, no need to tap "just once" every time.

Posted via Android Central App

Took me a while too. For things like videos, I don't like to set a default because for different types of videos I use different apps. So it's handy to know you can just double tap

As this article says, the "choose app" dialog appears when you have multiple apps that can perform an action or open a certain file type, and you haven't already set an app to always open by default. It's also worth noting that when any of those apps receive an update the dialog will pop up again, even if you had previously set an app as the default. This annoyed my wife at first, but it makes sense. Maybe the updated app has improved, so you want to change your default.

Better question is how to make defaults stick? On Android 4.1 with TouchWiz, I have to make default selection every time I reboot. This is a bit annoying since I turn my phone off at night. TouchWiz is terrible, but I use action launcher and am anxious to snag a HTC One NUE (Nexus User Experience). But I would appreciate if anyone has any ideas on overcoming this feature that I assume is unique to TouchWiz.

I have never experienced the issue you are having with Touchwiz. I have spent time with a Note 2, Galaxy S2, S3 and S4 and have always seen my defaults stick.

Just make sure to always check the "Always use this app" box and you should be good to go.

Keep in mind, some apps need the device to be restarted even after setting it as a default. Nova Launcher, and a few other ones required this before getting updated.

What are your reasonings behind turning your device off at night? You don't have to answer, but just curious as to why you may do this.

This is actually an issue with Action Launcher I believe. I use Action Launcher on my HTC One and have the exact same issue. Apart from that it is a brilliant launcher.

Thanks. That's good to know. I like action launcher a lot, but this is a little annoying when I boot every day. Still way better than using TouchWiz though.

Maybe I'm just dense, but I cannot get the *one* default app setting to change that I want. On my Sprint Galaxy S3 (rooted, running People's ROM 3.17) I accidentally set things so that when I touch a link to a Tumblr page from a Tweetcaster post, it opens in Chrome instead of the Tumblr app.

Which app would have been the correct one to reset? Tweetcaster because it is the app where the action begins? Chrome because it is the app that is being activated by the action? Tumblr because it is what I want to be linked to the action? I have re-set defaults for all three Chrome, Tweetcaster and Tumblr, but the behavior has not changed.

Here's news.... In Settings|Apps, they snuck a "reset app preferences" in the action overflow button. This appears to reset ALL default app choices at once.

Sort of the "dust off and nuke from orbit" solution.

Posted via Android Central App

I've done the scroll down and cleared the default so I can make Nova the default launcher but it doesn’t matter how many times I try and click Nova always it just doesn't work !!! It's a bit annoying but other than that I Love love love my note 3 !!!

Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was so helpful!

I've chosen 'always' by mistake, and I couldn't find the way to change it back. It was very painful.
Only with your help I was able to go back to defaults.

Thank you!