Have you ever purchased an Android phone, and found that while the phone itself is great, there are a few problems with it because the manufacturer of the phone has plastered its own branding everywhere, even down to locking the browser’s home page to a page with their own information on it. Things like that can significantly hinder your experience as a user. The good news is that there are workarounds if you’re savvy enough!
If you cannot find a way of changing the homepage of the default browser in your Android smartphone, then you might need to go under the hood a little bit and find other ways of changing it.
What Is content://com.android.browser.home/
It’s something that defines the default homepage in your phone’s web browser. If you want to change it, then there are a few ‘hidden’ ways of doing it.
In most of the devices, you can access this by following these steps:
- Open the default internet browser app.
- Tap the menu button which most likely is visible on the top-right side of the screen.
- Click on the menu that says ‘Settings’ and then drill down to the sub-menu until you find the ‘Android Browser Settings’ option. Once found, click on it.
- Open ‘General’ settings.
- Finally, click on the ‘Set Homepage.’
- Enter the URL you want to set as the default page or simply choose the blank page option.
If you cannot find that option because the maker of the phone has hidden it, then you have another option.
- Open the site that you wish to set as your homepage
- Press the menu button
- Save the page to your bookmarks
- Press the menu button
- Go to Bookmarks/History
- Find the site that you saved, and tap and hold it.
- From the menu that appears, choose ‘Set as Homepage.’
How to Change the Default Web Browser in Your Android Smartphone
Don’t forget that you aren’t forced to use the default or in-built web browsing app provided by your device’s manufacturer. There are plenty of better and much more feature-rich options available in the Google Play store. Most of them are free of cost and can be installed on your device with literally just one click.
Personally, I like using Firefox and Opera. Firefox is a good option, and if you have it installed on your desktop already, then it actually makes sense to have it on your phone too.
Wh y? Well because you can easily sync your phone’s Firefox with the one you have installed on your desktop only when log-in with the same account details.
This means that now all your web history, notifications, preferences, autocompletes along with all your bookmarks and saved passwords will automatically sync to your smartphone.
Furthermore, if you make Firefox as your default web browsing application on your device, then you will be able to set a custom homepage even more effortlessly.
Just install it from the Play Store or download the .apk file by visiting this official link and then make it your default application by following the steps enlisted below.
First: Open the ‘Settings’ on your mobile.
Second: Scroll down until you find something similar to Apps & notifications and then tap to open it.
Third: Tap on the “Default apps” and look for a menu called “Browser” and tap it.
Fourth: From the provided list, choose Firefox or the one you desire.
Now, when anything ( application or link with a file ) in your device needs to open a webpage, it will send you to the Firefox.
The Value of a Good Home Page
If you are thinking of changing your internet browser’s front page, then you must plan ahead. If you are a person who has to deal with frequent travels and prefer to use WiFi over your mobile data plan, then you might want to install a plugin that gives you a selection of tiles for easy links to your favorite pages instead of setting a custom front page.
Alternatively, you might want to set your internet browsing app’s default page to example.com, which is a non-HTTPS site developed and maintained by ICANN.
Why would you do this?
Well, if you frequently connect to public WiFi and you find that often you have to deal with “error messages” about your connection not being secure when you attempt to access websites before logging in to that WiFi on your phone, example.com can help you. Using a non-HTTPS page as your browser’s default page may help to reduce the problems you encounter because in that case, your browser will be able to redirect you to the public WiFi sign-in page automatically.
Getting Rid of the Android Browser
If you find that some apps insist on sending you to the web browser installed by your phone’s manufacturer, and you really don’t want to use it, but would instead use other free and easy to customize alternative like Chrome, Opera, etc, then you may want to try installing an application called Better Open With.
It’s a free app for Android devices that gives you 100% control over the “open with” options. It allows you to choose the default app for the Browser, Audio, Ebook, Email, PDF, Video and other options and over-ride them with the settings that you want.
Now the question is which one to choose?
Well, I will recommend using Via app. First of all, I am in no way affiliated to it, nor the developers have paid me any money. Secondly, Via is genuinely the fastest web browsing application I have used.
It does lack a set of features which you will find in Chrome, Opera, etc. but then the programs complete size is less than 600KB. Yes, you read it right. Its total size is less than 0.6MB, and it works flawlessly with every type of website, no matter if its Video streaming site or online newspaper, it just works.
My other suggestions will be Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera. All of them comes with multi-device and multi-account sync functionality along with the whole set of powerful features.
If you have problems with branding on your phone beyond just the web browser, then another option for you could be installing a Custom ROM such as CyanogenMod, or DotOS.
These ROMs are community builds that are designed to be faster. They usually offer more features than the standard ROMs that come with most smartphones. If you decide to do this, then be aware that in some cases you may be voiding the warranty of the device as most manufacturers don’t like their customers modding their devices and OS.
By installing a custom OS, at the very least you will be giving up some customer support. Furthermore, you should make sure that you are confident in what you are doing. You must understand that installing a modified OS on your phone needs a set of technical knowledge and I don’t recommend it. But if you do take this risk and succeed, you will enjoy more control over settings such as content://com.android.browser.home/ and your device as a whole.
There are so many web browsers on the internet and on play store that you can download and enjoy. So, rather than worrying about content://com.android.browser.home/ perhaps you should be making plans to get away from a bloated and inferior piece of software, to use something with a secure, fast and sleek rendering engine. You can check my suggestions in previous sections. All of them have plenty of extensions and other offerings to help you improve your productivity and to make browsing the web on your mobile device a little bit fast.