Is there an option to change my default browser for all my applications?

8 Answers 8


Have a look at your system-settings -> Details:

(Note that in older versions of Ubuntu Details is called System Info)

enter image description here

  • 10
    Wow, that's a pretty stupid place to put it! Almost as bad as having to go to "settings" to turn off your computer in Windows 8.
    – Mike
    Dec 8, 2013 at 0:25
  • 4
    in ubuntu 14.04 [cinnamon theme] navigate to System Settings > Preferred applications
    – diEcho
    Jul 25, 2014 at 11:31
  • To launch this on Ubuntu 14.04 from the CLI try unity-control-center askubuntu.com/questions/116655/…
    – Winny
    Aug 10, 2015 at 4:34
  • How do I make an application show up in there?
    – Anaphory
    Oct 19, 2016 at 16:28
  • To access this from CLI use gnome-control-center and go to System > Details. You will also need to use update-alternatives from Sergey P. aka azure's answer below, since different programs reads settings from different sources.
    – Boris Bukh
    Jan 17, 2019 at 16:09

This is an ubuntu way of doing this

sudo update-alternatives --config x-www-browser
sudo update-alternatives --config gnome-www-browser
  • This is a system-wide change, and should be done in addition to fossfreedom's answer.
    – Flimm
    Dec 11, 2013 at 11:56
  • 3
    I tried all the answers here; only the second of these two lines changed the browser in which browser-external links (e.g. from Pidgin) opened.
    – Stew
    Jun 25, 2014 at 15:57
  • This is the most appropriate way to do this, working for i3WM and other desktop environments where terminals rules. Thank you for sharing. Apr 30, 2017 at 14:38
  • This didn't work for me on ubuntu 16.04 (was trying to change the browser used by thunderbird to open links). The accepted solution worked.
    – Étienne
    Apr 26, 2018 at 7:15

If your preferred browser isn't in that menu or you prefer doing it from the command line, this command will let you do the same thing as in fossfreedom's answer:

xdg-settings set default-web-browser name-of-browser.desktop


xdg-settings set default-web-browser firefox.desktop


xdg-settings set default-web-browser chromium-browser.desktop


xdg-settings set default-web-browser google-chrome.desktop
  • 4
    For SEO reasons: this works with i3wm when chrome sneaks into x-www-browser and update-alternatives is out of reach because it requires sudo. You need to have my-application.desktop available, for example in ~/.local/share/applications/my-app.desktop. But you don't pass the entire path to xdg-settings, only the file name. Sep 26, 2017 at 12:58
  • 1
    This is the right solution. It works on every distro. May 31, 2020 at 13:05

All preferences about default applications your user located in file "mimeapps.list". I am use Gnome 3 and Debian, so for me it is ~/.config/mimeapps.list.

I you don`t know where is may be located this file, try command:

locate mimeapps.list

For override default a web browser you need, at least, change values in category [Default Applications]

  • x-scheme-handler/http
  • text/html
  • application/xhtml_xml
  • image/webp
  • x-scheme-handler/https
  • x-scheme-handler/ftp
  • x-scheme-handler/https
  • x-scheme-handler/ftp

and in category [Added Associations]

  • text/html
  • text/xml
  • application/xhtml_xml
  • image/webp
  • x-scheme-handler/https
  • x-scheme-handler/ftp

For Opera the file ~/.config/mimeapps.list must contains:

[Default Applications]

[Added Associations]

Try it (must be open in Opera, if it installed)

xdg-open somehtmlfile.html

For Chrome the file ~/.config/mimeapps.list must contains:

[Default Applications]

[Added Associations]

Try it (must be open in Chrome, if it installed)

xdg-open somehtmlfile.html

And so on (Firefox, or something else).

You need only override desire mimetypes. But I recommend use GUI for it. It will be reduce amount of errors.

It is actual for me system and will be change from system to system, from desktop environment to desktop environment, and so on.

Testing environment

$ lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Debian
Description:    Debian GNU/Linux 8.6 (jessie)
Release:    8.6
Codename:   jessie
$ uname -a
Linux localhost 3.16.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.16.36-1+deb8u2 (2016-10-19) x86_64 GNU/Linux
$s gnome-session --version
gnome-session 3.14.0
  • In Xubuntu/XFCE, "GUI" means the Settings > MIME Type Editor. Oct 25, 2019 at 14:55
  • I tried all the options above and this one solved control+clicking links in the terminal window Jun 26, 2020 at 15:11

System -> Control Center -> Preferred Applications
for ubuntu with MATE DESKTOP


Apart from some of the comments above, I would suggest following the top answer here. It involves changing the mimeapps/url schemes of your current user.

I had to use that solution to make linux Skype behave normally. Most other applications would use x-www-browser or gnome-www-browser but I guess they do have a point of using the URL Schemes; sometimes it has more sense.

  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post.
    – Jan
    Sep 30, 2014 at 8:04
  • I thought this still answered the question for Skype for which as far as I know, the changes in the top answer don't influence how skype chooses the default application in all conditions. The answer is here to help users in case the first one does not. If this can be done by responding with comments to the first answer I will do just that. :) Thank you for the heads up! Sep 30, 2014 at 8:39
  • Got your point, Adrian – just sitting in the same boat. Still, that didn't solve it for me. What solved it, was this answer. But that might be due to the fact I'm using LXDE as desktop.
    – Izzy
    Mar 7, 2015 at 23:16

You can also change your default browser in the relevant browser settings - e.g.

Preferences, tick 'Always check if Firefox is your default browser'

Settings, click 'Make chrome default browser'

  • 1
    This is not working for me on 15.04
    – user11153
    Aug 31, 2015 at 11:11
  • Didn't work for me for Vivaldi on 18.04.
    – Murphy
    Sep 7, 2020 at 13:31
  • open brave browser then click top right corner icon then click Settings.

  • you will see something like: enter image description here

+Now set as default browser button(3rd link).

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