The feature will make it possible for users to set third-party email apps as the default app to open when they tap an address, rather than the default Mail app, for example.
The same goes for the web browser. If you prefer Google Chrome you can set it as your preference in Settings and ensure Safari doesn’t open every time you tap a new link.
The feature wasn’t actually announced during the WWDC keynote, but it was documented via the iOS 14 page on Apple’s website. While it seems like a small tweak, it will actually be massively useful for those people who rely on Spark or Gmail for their email, for example.
The company wrote: “Set a default web browser and email app that launch when you click a link or want to compose a new mail message.”
This change had been rumoured in recent weeks, so it’s great to see Apple following through on giving users more freedom to choose the apps that work best for them.
Related: Apple Silicon
Right now it doesn’t appear as if the feature will be extended beyond email apps and web browsers, so if you’re looking to get away from the calendar app, for example, you might still have to put up with links opening in the default Calendar app for the time being.
However, it’s still quite a notable feature for Apple to omit from proceedings at WWDC. The company did have its hands full announcing new features like Apple Clips, a revamped Maps app that includes cycling routes, brand new features for Messages, and information rich and customisable home screen widgets.
There’s also a new translation app powered by Siri, an App Library for easily grouping and locating apps and the iPad’s picture-in-picture is also on the way.
The company also used WWDC to announce forthcoming new versions of iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS and macOS are coming before the end of the year.