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Can’t open links in Android apps? Here’s what to do!

Why can't I open links on Android?

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:

  1. Check in-app settings
  2. Disable Adblocker
  3. Check the Opening link defaults
  4. Update or reinstall WebView
  5. Clear cache and data from Google services
  6. 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:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Apps & notifications.
  3. Select Default apps.
  4. Choose Opening links.
  5. Make sure that the app at hand is allowed to open associated links.can't open links on android apps

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.can't open links on android apps

5. Clear cache and data from Google services

This is also recommended. Resetting Google Play Services and Google Services Framework should fix some problems. Hopefully, it should address the issue you are experiencing.

Follow these steps to clear cache and data from Google Services:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Apps & notifications > All apps.
  2. Tap on the 3-dot menu and select Show system.
  3. Navigate to Google Play Services and clear the storage.
  4. Now, do the same for Google Services Framework.can't open links on android apps
  5. 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.

  1. Again, navigate to Settings > Apps & notifications > All apps.
  2. Tap on the 3-dot menu and tap Reset app preferences.can't open links on android apps
  3. 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.


FAQ

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.

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Digital Uncoded. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.