Apple step-by-step instructions for web browsers and email clients with the new default app option on iOS 14

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We’ve already provided a preview of how you’ll be able to change the default apps on iOS 14, although Apple itself hasn’t disclosed any details about this new feature. This week, however, the company shared documentation for the new API with more details on how it works and the guidelines developers should follow.IOS users have never been able to set third-party apps as default. Although you can install Chrome, Spark, and other apps on your iPhone or iPad, the system will still open Safari and Mail when you tap on a URL or email address. Apple announced this year that users will finally be able to replace these apps with others from the App Store with iOS 14.

Apple says developers need to know certain requirements for their apps to be approved on the App Store with the option to replace Safari and Mail.

The system calls the default web browser in iOS whenever user opens HTTP or HTTPS link. As this application becomes the user’s primary gateway to the Internet, Apple requires that web browsing applications meet specific functional criteria to protect user privacy and ensure proper access to Internet resources.

Apps meant to be set as default apps must use a specific right, but the company points out that developers must request individual permission by sending an email to Apple. Otherwise, the app will be rejected on the App Store.

For web browsers, the application should offer basic functionality of a standard browser, such as a text field for URL entry and search, as well as organized lists of bookmarks. Apple also explains that web browsers with the default app option cannot be created using UIWebView, which was deprecated last year. Instead, developers should use the new WKWebView.

These apps should redirect the user to the websites they expect, in addition to presenting alerts for suspicious content or other issues. “Applications that redirect to unexpected locations or display content not specified in the source code of the destination do not meet the requirements for a default web browser,” says Apple.

According to the documentation, Apple will also reject apps that unnecessarily access personal data. Web browsers with access to HomeKit, health data, and permanent location services will be rejected. Most of these rules also apply to third-party email clients with the default app option. In this case, the app should provide a way to send and receive messages from any email address.

The company will review each app to determine if it meets all of the requirements to use this new API in an effort to prevent apps that are not actually browsers or email clients from being set as default apps.

Once a compatible app is installed on your iPhone or iPad, you can set it as your default web browser or email client through the Settings app on iOS 14. Since every app must be reviewed and approved by Apple, do not don’t expect access to the new Default Apps feature before iOS 14 officially releases to the public this fall.

You can read the full documentation for the Default Apps API on the Apple website.

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