How to Change Your Default Browser: A Step-by-Step Guide

Your default browser automatically opens when you click a website link or perform an internet search. Here's how to change which browser is default.
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When you click a web link (URL), your operating system automatically launches a browser to visit that address. That's why we call it a default browser — your OS will use it by default. If you have more browsers installed, you can change the default as you please.

Why would you change your default browser, though?

It depends on your needs; some browsers are faster, eat less memory, offer better security, etc. The safety part is becoming increasingly critical. With so many hacks, scams, and data breaches everywhere, using the best web browser for privacy makes sense.

Keep reading to learn how to change your default browser and why you might want to do it.

In this article
Why would you want to change your default web browser?
How to change your default browser
How to change your default browser FAQ
Bottom line

Why would you want to change your default web browser?

Apart from pure personal preference, there are some reasons why you should use a particular browser.

Here are the most common ones.

  • Privacy and security: If this is your main concern, look for regularly updated browsers with good privacy features (e.g., Do Not Track, blocking pop-ups, anti-tracking), sandbox mode, good extension support, and maybe even a built-in firewall or a VPN. Some popular browsers offer even more; Mozilla Firefox also blocks cryptominers, and Vivaldi protects against phishing.
  • Performance: Browsers have different JavaScript and browser engines. These largely determine the overall speed of your browser. Google Chrome and Safari are often lauded as the fastest ones.
  • Personalization: If you want to truly make the browser “your own,” Opera One allows you to customize almost every aspect of its UI. Vivaldi offers similar customizability and a slew of different themes. Firefox is famous for its add-on collection.

How to change your default browser

When you pick a new default browser, the changing process will depend on your device and operating system. Since they’re all pretty simple, you can make a switch in no time. Find your OS in our step-by-step guides below.

Windows 10 & 11

If you want to change your default browser in Windows, a few quick keystrokes will get you there.

Here’s how.

Windows 10:

  1. Select the Start button
  2. Type Default app
  3. Under the Web browser section, choose the current browser listed, then select a different browser

Windows 11:

  1. Go to Start and enter the Settings menu
  2. Choose Apps, then Default apps
  3. Select the default browser you want
  4. Click Set default

macOS

For Ventura or later:

  1. Click on the Apple menu in the left corner of the screen and go to System Settings
  2. Select Desktop & Dock
  3. Scroll down to the Default web browser section and choose your preferred web browser

Mac Desktop & Doc settings

For earlier macOS versions:

  1. Go to the Apple menu in the left corner and choose System Preferences
  2. Click General
  3. From the Default web browser menu, choose your preferred web browser

Android

By changing the default settings, you can open all links on your Android device in your preferred web browser.

  1. Go to Settings on your Android device
  2. Click Apps
  3. Under General, select Default apps or Choose default apps
  4. Click the Browser app
  5. Choose the new default web browser you want to use

iOS

For iOS 14 or later:

  1. Go to Settings and scroll down to find the default browser (these are listed alphabetically under the apps)
  2. Click the browser app, then tap Default Browser App
  3. Choose the preferred browser app and set it as the default (you will see a checkmark next to the browser to confirm)

iOS Chrome Settings

iOS Default Browser App

How to change your default browser FAQ


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Will changing my default browser erase my bookmarks and saved passwords?

Changing your default browser won’t erase your bookmarks and saved passwords. Your new browser might even allow you to import them. If you still have concerns, you could use a password manager to store your online credentials.


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Can I have more than one default browser?

You can use multiple web browsers, but only one as the default. You can’t customize your devices to pick between different default browsers; they can only use one.


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Can I change the default browser back to the original one?

You can switch between default browsers as often as you like. You can install multiple browsers on your device and test them by trying each as the default.


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Will changing the default browser affect my computer?

Changing the default browser won’t affect your computer directly. However, if you pick a browser with lower privacy and security, you might infect your device with malware or fall victim to other attacks.

Bottom line

You can change your default browser in a few simple steps. However, doing research and finding one that fits your needs poses a challenge. If you want to browse safely and keep your peace of mind, we recommend exploring our picks for the best web browsers for privacy.

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Author Details
Patti Croft is a seasoned writer who specializes in all things technology. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science and carries a wealth of hands-on experience thanks to her background as a technical analyst and security specialist.