Apple might open iOS up to third-party default apps

I don’t know how much of this Bloomberg report we can believe, but in it, Mark Gurman suggests Apple is currently working on the ability to allow third-party apps to act as the default apps for some areas inside iOS. For example, at some point in the future, you could set Gmail as your default email app or Firefox as your default browser. Historically, Apple’s been extremely tight on what apps can open automatically when certain things are done on their devices. Now, though, it looks like the company will begin loosening its grip.

In addition, Apple’s HomePod smart speaker may also soon support Spotify, yet another example of letting third-party services shine by making them the default provider on Apple devices. Of course, this same open-ness will extend to iPadOS.

Given Apple’s history, I can’t help but feel hesitant about this report. We’ve never seen Apple let third-parties have this kind of control over the core experience of iOS, and it isn’t clear what made the company suddenly change their minds. Until we know more about Apple’s plans, I’d take this report with a grain of salt. We might not have that long to wait, though, since Gurman says the capability may roll out with iOS 14 this year.