One of the great things about the Android user experience is seamless navigation and integration with all installed apps. It’s such a pleasure when everything works. An example is opening links within apps or switching from web content to apps in a blink. However, some users report that they can’t open links in Android apps.
If you are among them, don’t worry, because we have a way to solve this in a matter of minutes.
Table of contents:
- Check in-app settings
- Disable Adblocker
- Check the Opening link defaults
- Update or reinstall WebView
- Clear cache and data from Google services
- Reset app preferences
Why can’t I open links on my phone?
If you can’t open links on Android apps, make sure to check in-app settings, reinstall the app, or inspect in-app permissions. If that doesn’t help, clearing cache and data from essential Google Services or reinstalling WebView should resolve the issue.
1. Check in-app settings
The first thing to do is to ensure that the app opens links externally. You can try with the built-in browser integrated within the app but switching to a full external browser is recommended.
Just open settings and look for the Links open externally (or something similar). Ensure that all links will open on your default browser (Chrome or something else). By default, apps like Facebook and TikTok open the links internally (a tracking scheme, if you ask me), with a built-in browser. And, thanks to some integration issues on the more recent Android versions, you should probably go for opening links in the default browser instead.
On the other hand, links that you got in text messages will open directly from Chrome or another default mobile browser.
2. Disable Adblocker
This applies to users who are using third-party apps like Blokada or AdAway. Although they will save you from annoying apps in most apps, they can, albeit rarely, prevent apps from opening hyperlinks.
Disable them temporarily and look for improvements. if the issue persists and you still can’t open links on Android apps, move down.
3. Check the Opening link defaults
The next thing to do is to check the opening link defaults option. Here, you should confirm that apps are indeed allowed to open external links that lead to them.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Open Settings.
- Choose Apps & notifications.
- Select Default apps.
- Choose Opening links.
- Make sure that the app at hand is allowed to open associated links.
If you need additional help with this step, you can check out our article about changing the default apps on Android for more info.
4. Update or reinstall WebView
Android System WebView allows third-party apps to open links in a browser. If it doesn’t work properly, links that are supposed to be open in a browser (links that are not associated with apps like YouTube), won’t open at all.
So, what you need to do is make sure that WebView is up to date. You can also uninstall it on the Play Store and update it again. Just navigate to Play Store and look for WebView. After uninstalling updates, reboot your device and update the app again.
5. Clear cache and data from Google services
Follow these steps to clear cache and data from Google Services:
- Navigate to Settings > Apps & notifications > All apps.
- Tap on the 3-dot menu and select Show system.
- Navigate to Google Play Services and clear the storage.
- Now, do the same for Google Services Framework.
- Restart your device.
6. Reset app preferences
Finally, you can try and reset app preferences. This won’t remove any data the app saved but it should clear permissions which will allow you to select a different app to open links externally.
- Again, navigate to Settings > Apps & notifications > All apps.
- Tap on the 3-dot menu and tap Reset app preferences.
- Confirm the selection and reboot your device.
And, with that said, we can wrap it up. Thank you for reading.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in December 2020. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.
You can force a link to open in a certain app by installing a third-party tool called "Open Link With..." This tool allows you to choose an app you want to open a link with, regardless of that link's original source. You can find more details about this app, as well as some alternative options in our article about force-opening links on Android.
Android System WebView is a component for the Android OS which allows links to open inside an app, instead of redirecting them to a browser.