iOS 14: Apple provides details on changing default apps

With iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple will make a long-awaited feature a reality: the setting of different standard apps for browsers and mail clients. The company is now providing a few more details about the requirements that apps and developers have to meet in order for normal users to be able to change their browser or mail client.

While Apple had previously only announced a few details about this new feature, there’s at least a bit more information revealed in the documentation for developers. Among other things, the documentation mentions the necessary requirements an app has to fulfill.

Apple lists requirements for alternative standard apps

For example, apps that want to qualify as an alternative default browser must provide a field for entering an address or a search query. Also displaying a list of curated bookmarks is allowed. When opening an address, the app has to navigate directly to it. This means that forwarding via other servers is not allowed. However, apps that integrate a parental lock may prevent navigation to forbidden addresses.

For standard mail apps, the list of restrictions is somewhat shorter. An app must be able to send mail to any valid e-mail address and receive mail from any valid e-mail address. Apps may also offer mail screening that can be customized by the user.

If the apps fulfill the above-mentioned rules, developers can get the appropriate entitlements from Apple, which will allow the app to be offered as an alternative standard app. This also means that apps must be modified by their developers before users can select them as the standard app. What this will look like exactly in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 is not yet known, as there are no such apps available – even in the current beta phase of the upcoming operating systems.

Apple had already hinted that they would not give any app the right to pretend to be an alternative browser and mail client. The new information now provides further details about the requirements.

iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 will be released in autumn. An exact date is not yet known, as it might be tied to the availability of the now delayed iPhone 12.

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