In some apps (Google News, Read - Simple RSS Reader) when I tap on a link, it won't directly open in Firefox but in a simplistic viewer, supposedly also by Firefox. From there I only have two choices, close the viewer (which brings me back into the app) or open the actual Firefox browser. The problem is that all plugins are disabled in this viewer, so I always need two taps to open a link from those apps. How can I disable this viewer?

I have Firefox 68.3.0 installed, but the problem has existed for a long time.


1 Answer 1


Some app developers prefer to keep user within the app as much as possible, even when visiting external links. WebView embeds external web content seamlessly in an app activity so that it looks a part of it. However large contents like complete webpages which cannot fit inside app layout require a minimal browser to show them. Some apps have their own in-app browsers. A relatively recent addition is the ability of standalone browsers (including Chrome and Firefox) to show Custom Tabs inside other apps the same way an in-app browser looks.

When you tap a link, app may fire an explicit intent.action.VIEW to web browser or an implicit intent with URL as data. In latter case if there are more than one apps which can handle the given scheme in URL (e.g. https://) and a default app isn't selected already, system activity resolver (com.android.internal.app.ResolverActivity) shows Open With dialogue (with help from package manager which shows last selected app on top (see more details in this answer):

Then an explicit intent is forwarded to user selected app. So here if you select a browser (or other app) which doesn't provide Custom Tabs functionality, full browser is launched. But if the intent is a CustomTabsIntent (with EXTRAs) and the selected app (e.g. browser) supports Custom Tabs, the URL is opened within the calling app. Browser may start a CustomTabsService in background to receive intents with ACTION_CUSTOM_TABS_CONNECTION:

~$ dumpsys package | grep CustomTabsService
        b5a09c8 org.mozilla.firefox/org.mozilla.gecko.customtabs.GeckoCustomTabsService

Firefox, at least, provides an option in settings to disable Custom Tabs:

Similarly some apps can provide a configuration option to open links externally, disabling in-app browser and/or custom tabs. Or you can customize the custom tabs behavior using third party apps like Lynket - an open source project (I have no affiliation). Theoretically the same approach can be used to disable custom tabs by selecting such app when "Open with" dialog is shown.

  • I get a preview that comes from Chrome, with an option to "Open in Firefox", which is my default browser. How can I disable this Chrome preview?
    – pgr
    Nov 27, 2021 at 16:48
  • To answer my own question: go to the Firefox custom tabs option as shown above and do this sequence: off / on / off. I guess that turning it "on" steals the option from chrome, and then turning it off again finally solves the problem.
    – pgr
    Nov 27, 2021 at 16:55

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