When opening a specific type of link, Android prompts you to choose between several apps. It’s the mobile equivalent of the desktop “Open With…“.

For example, when tapping on a Airbnb link, this modal appears:

Android "Complete action with"

The key part of this modal is the bottom part, where 2 options appear:

  • Always: subsequent taps on similar types of links will always open the selected app. The modal won’t appear again.
  • Just once: the link will only open in the selected app this time. The modal will reappear next time a similar link is opened.

The problem with this approach is that any action requires 2 taps: selecting which app to use and how subsequent taps will behave.

As a result, choosing the permanent behavior is as easy as choosing a one-time behavior. If a user chose “Always” by mistake, he’d have to dig deep into the phone settings to undo his error, which will also clear the app’s behavior regarding other types of links.

A less error-prone approach

To simplify the opening of a link and to prevent any permanent decision, the modal should look like this:

Better Android "Complete action with"

How it works:

  • No app is selected by default.
  • Tapping on an app will open the link in that app.
  • Choosing that app as the permanent choice requires 2 taps.

The one-time action is quicker as it requires only a single tap.

Although defining the permanent action requires to tap at the bottom and then in the list, opting for a less straightforward approach is deliberate, as it prevents easy mistakes.

If a user wishes to choose an app as the default one, he’d have to actively decide to do so.