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

Open Links External Browser Facebook App Featured

The option to open links within the Facebook app in a browser of your choice is a good feature to have. For a start, it’s clear Facebook isn’t particularly dedicated to making its in-app browser any good any time soon. Also, the less data we’re directly feeding to Facebook, the better, right?

There’s been some strange activity with the option to open links externally in Facebook lately. The feature seemed to have been silently removed in June 2021, before being silently reinstated again.

So who knows if this option is going to stick around. But in the meantime, here’s how to force the Facebook app to use your browser of choice to view links.

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’s what the Facebook in-app browser looks like. As you can see, it’s pretty feature-thin compared to Chrome and Firefox.

Open Links External Browser Facebook App In App Browser

Beyond that, there’s a slew of reasons you might not want to use the 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.

Change the Default Facebook Browser

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

In the Facebook app, tap the three-line menu icon at the top right corner, then scroll down to Settings & Privacy -> Settings.

Open Links External Browser Facebook App Settings Privacy

Scroll down to Media.

Open Links External Browser Facebook App Media

At the very bottom, you should see “Links open externally”. Check this box to enable it.

Open Links External Browser Facebook App Checkbox

Now, next time you try to open a web page link through Facebook, you’ll see the below screen, asking you which browser you want to use to open links. You can tap “Always” to always open links in that browser from now on.

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.

Want to do more with Facebook? Here’s how to bulk-delete Facebook messages. We can also show you how to download your Facebook chat history.

2 comments

  1. I don’t see how this can do anything beside putting facebook in your back pocket as you browse. Should make tracking even easier. Those simple browsers are more of a convenience than anything; most users (with facebook trained zero patience) just want links to open, they don’t care how.

    Beside, it should provide comfort to iPhone users since in-app simple browsers look just like Safari.

  2. I don’t see “Media” and can’t find the option for open websites from outside of Facebook (11/7/21) – I followed the links but they ended when I couldn’t find “Media”. Where has it moved to? I clicked everything I thought might work.

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