Apple may finally be loosening its stance on a long-held iPhone and iPad standard: The company is considering a change to its policy of forcing its own apps as defaults, according to a new Bloomberg report.
As it stands, if you use an iPhone or an iPad, Apple’s apps are set as default and cannot be changed.
If you click a hyperlink, Apple’s Safari web browser will open that link. If you click an email link, Apple’s Mail app will open that link.
Were Apple to change that policy, users could set alternate apps as their defaults — Google’s Chrome or Microsoft Edge browsers instead of Apple’s Safari, for instance.
That policy change could also extend to Apple’s smart speaker, the HomePod.
Instead of defaulting to Apple Music, users could set a third-party music streaming service like Spotify as their default option.
Notably, Apple has yet to comment on the report; a representative did not respond immediately to a request for comment, and Apple declined to provide a statement to Bloomberg.
Though Apple makes the majority of its profits from selling phones, it keeps iPhone users locked to its hardware through its vast ecosystem — including default apps like Mail and Safari, and now Apple Music as well.
App makers have accused Apple in the past of anti-competitive practices with apps on the iPhone and iPad. Spotify even formally filed a complaint with the European Union last year, which accused Apple of acting “as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers.”
If Apple does make the change, Bloomberg reports that it could go into effect “as soon as later this year” as part of the big annual update to iOS that usually happens in September alongside the launch of new iPhones.