How to Force the Facebook App to Use an External Browser to View Links

Those of you who use Facebook have probably noticed that the developers are continually making changes to the app. One development they made a few years ago was to use an in-app browser. Anytime you click on a link, their own WebView interface opens to display the webpage. It does load quickly, but there are many reasons why you may want to disable Facebook’s browser and use your device’s default browser.

What Is an In-App Browser


In-app browsers are nothing but webpage viewers without all the other functionalities that browsers like Opera, Chrome, and Firefox have built in. The developers of apps like Facebook create these browsers to work only in their app. They cannot open independently, only through their app.

These browsers are used by companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail to keep you using their app instead of another one. They don’t want you to move out of their app.

Negatives of Facebook’s In-App Browser

Here are some of the reasons why you might not want to use Facebook’s in-app browser.

  • You can only one view one site at a time. You can’t open new tabs.
  • You can’t type in new URLs. There is no address bar in these browsers.
  • The in-app browser does not store login information, so you will have to retype it all in if you’re landing on a site requiring your password.
  • Options like “find in page” and “open desktop site” are not available.
  • Sometimes the pages don’t load properly, or they may crash shortly after opening them.
  • No browsing history is available, so you can’t go back and finish a story later without searching on Facebook for it.
  • You can’t bookmark a site. Facebook has a way to “save” the site URL, but it is different than the bookmarking action.

Changing the Default Browser

If you would like to force Facebook to open links in your default browser, here are some steps to make that happen.

1. Log into your Facebook account.

2. Tap the Menu icon in the top-right. (It looks like three horizontal lines.)

3. Scroll down and tap “Settings & Privacy.”


4. Tap Settings.

5. Scroll down and tap “Media and Contacts.” It’s at the very bottom of the list.


6. Toggle the “Links open externally” setting to On. (It will turn blue.)


That’s all there is to it. From now on the Facebook app will load all links to other sites in your device’s default web browser instead of in the slimmed-down in-app browser. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work in iOS, only on Android devices.

Now that you have set Facebook to use the default browser of your choice and not theirs, you will never have to worry again about losing access to a link after closing the app. You’ll be able to use the history in your browser and continue reading. You will also be able to access sites that require login information much more quickly since you don’t have to retype everything if you have it saved in your default browser.

Tracey Rosenberger Tracey Rosenberger

Tracey Rosenberger spent 26 years teaching elementary students, using technology to enhance learning. Now she's excited to share helpful technology with teachers and everyone else who sees tech as intimidating.


  1. So,what do you do when Facebook shrinks your page to microscopic?I was using opera for it but now i can only see the page in Mozilla.

  2. Doesn’t work for me, the “media & contacts” section seems to be changed. Under “media & contacts” I just can find “videos & photos”, “sounds”, “browser” and “upload contacts”. When I tap “browser” i can only clear the the history of the built in browser…

  3. Worked for me, exactly as per your instructions. Really appreciate it, thank you very much!

  4. Does not work for all links. One media company still has links open in Facebook browser while others properly open externally in Firefox.
    Trying to find solution. Unlike page to start.

  5. As an advertiser can I do some coding on the link that is put on the fb ads such that the landing page is forced to open in default mobile phone browser instead of the FB browser?
    – Siddharth

    1. Siddharth: I am having the same issue as you with my social media advertising. Let me know if you discover anything, please.

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