Restarting iPhone removes default mail and browser choices on iOS 14

Mail (Image credit: Joseph Keller/iMore)

What you need to know

  • A major bug has been discovered in iOS 14.
  • Restarting your iPhone apparently resets your default browser and mail app choices back to Apple's own apps.
  • Multiple users have reported the issue.

Reported by CNET, one of Apple's big features of iOS 14 is being rendered difficult to use when you restart your iPhone. According to reports from multiple users, restarting your iPhone removes your default app selections for the browser and mail app.

Users appear to have found the first major bug in Apple's iOS 14 iPhone software. The free software upgrade, which Apple made publicly available Wednesday, includes features many users had long asked for, such as better ways to organize apps, living programs called widgets on the home screen, and the ability to change which default apps the phone uses to browse the web or send an email. That last one doesn't appear to work.

According to the reports, users have been able to set their default browser to Chrome or another third party as their default mail app. However, when they restart their phone, both defaults are set back to Apple's own Safari and Mail app.

A growing chorus of Twitter users has been posting about the bug in Apple's default email and default web browser options. What happens is that whenever they set the default browser to Google's Chrome, for example, it works as expected, and tapping any link in an app or browser will open Chrome on the iPhone. But then if they restart the phone, iOS 14 changes that default back to Apple's Safari.

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According to Maria Henyk on Twitter, developers are recommending that people delete Apple's Mail app as a way to ensure that their third-party app stays the default.

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Of course, if you need the Mail app as well, this workaround isn't too useful. This also isn't even an option for those trying to use a different browser, as Safari is unable to be fully deleted on the iPhone.

Bugs are expected when new software hits millions of users, so hopefully, Apple will be quick to react and patch this issue.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.

  • Once again, raising the question. Who ARE these people who install software updates on the first GD day it is available? Do you enjoy being unpaid beta testers? Around 14.2.1 it MIGHT be stable. iOS 13 was a horrible mess until around 13.3. I never did install 13 on my iPad Mini 5. Didn't install 13 on this iPad Pro until 13.5.1. I have no plans to update my iPod touch either. It will stay on 12.4.1 forever. AGAIN, what is the rush?
  • Anyone who isn’t a techie, techies who are excited and fine rolling the dice, and anyone that has to cover it 😬. iOS 14 has actually been a huge improvement over iOS 13, was running the beta for months without much issue.
  • Meh. How often do people restart their phones? I need to do it maybe every few weeks or once a month for something. Not like it is an every night thing. Only two apps you can change the default for, it's not that hard, and a fix will probably be out before I have to restart again (unless this was on purpose 😊 )
  • True! Can’t imagine there’s too many people that do this often. Still, your phone should remain the same when you restart so hopefully the next update will take care of it.
  • What exactly is "restart"? Is that just turning it off? I do that every night. I turn off everything at night. iPhones, iPads, iPods, PCs, lights, TVs, radios. Why would you leave anything on for 8-10 hours when you aren't going to use it?
  • Yeah either turning it off and then turning it back on or restarting. I think most people leave everything on most of the time since standby mode is so energy efficient now. You really don't need to turn anything off that frequently anymore, but if it works for you that's great! Just be prepared to deal with this bug until Apple fixes it! If you are setting different browser and email defaults of course.
  • Yep, I just tried it on my iPad and it set my default browser back to Safari. Irritating, but not the end of the world. Otherwise iOS/iPadOS 14 seems to be fine, I've found no major issues so far. I always install new versions on the first day and have never regretted it, minor bugs like this don't worry me.
  • Same. A little annoying if you are using that feature, but other than that, both updates seem really solid this year.