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With Android 12, Google introduced the verified links feature that requires apps to verify ownership of domains for which they want to handle links. (Handling links refers to the behavior where when you tap a link to the Wikipedia website it will instead open the Wikipedia app.)

This means that third party apps (e.g. third party Reddit or Wikipedia readers) can't "hijack" links anymore, which I however do desire as I trust these applications and want to use them instead of the "blessed" official apps.

Websites are in control of my device's actions. How can I restore the previous behaviour of the Android system trusting all installed applications and asking me which apps I prefer to open URLs in rather than a website?

I am open to FOSS apps, Magisk modules and even patches to the AOSP to disable this anti-feature.

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    Not FOSS apps, but covered on XDA: This app lets you take back control over how Android 12 opens links
    – Andrew T.
    May 26 at 2:35
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    I am probably misunderstanding, but developer.android.com/training/app-links/… suggests to me that there is a way for the user to still choose what opens the links?
    – AakashM
    May 27 at 13:31
  • Yes, by manually adding each and every URL to the app's whitelist which is tedious in many cases as websites often have many sub-domains and mirrors. You're also no longer able to allow multiple apps to open a URL and choose between them which is an indispensable feature of the old behaviour for many.
    – Atemu
    May 27 at 13:39
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    @Atemu I tried my best with the edit to respect the spirit of the question. Glad to see you were able to build upon that. Anyway, to be fair, if I am a website owner and I link to a domain, I don't expect a "man in the middle" to be able to "hijack" that link. To give an example, let's say I am on "mybank.com" and click the link "internetbanking.mybank.com", then nothing should be able to get 'in between' that expect the app of the bank. I got a bit pissed at Google when I thought they didn't allow explicit handling of links, but as it turns out they did... this feature really does make sense. May 27 at 13:51
  • Yeah, the original wording was a representation of my anger of Google entirely breaking my workflow with no viable alternative. Your edit was completely justified. I can see your point and it really is a security hole but I generally don't install applications on my phone that I don't trust. It could've been much better solved by showing the "Open with" dialog with the option to use the hijacking app or continue your web browser with "Just once" and "Always" buttons just like before. Instead we got a typical Google solution: "Ask the cloud!"...
    – Atemu
    May 27 at 14:00

1 Answer 1

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A good FOSS solution I have found is https://github.com/tasomaniac/OpenLinkWith.

You need to enable its (more or less) experimental browser mode under "App Features" -> "Set as Browser" and set the app as the default browser.

It then acts very similar to how the old link opening dialog used to work and looks similar aswell:

Showcase

(This is indeed the app's dialog, not the OS'!)

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