How to force URLs in Slack to open in your default Android mobile web browser

How to force URLs in Slack to open in your default Android mobile web browser

Stop opening URLs from Slack in WebView and use your built-in Android browser for a more efficient and secure experience.


Image: Slack

Slack is an incredibly powerful collaboration tool. Without Slack, many teams would find themselves at a loss at how to most efficiently work together. Slack is prevalent within the world of app development, IT management, and just about any other industry that requires collaboration between employees and teams. 

On the mobile side of Slack, some of the default behavior could use a slight tweaking. One such behavior is how tapped URLs are opened. By default, those URLs will open in the Android WebView subsystem. For most users, that’s fine. But what happens when you open a URL from within the mobile Slack app, and you wind up wanting (or needing) to share that URL with someone outside of Slack? Chances are good you’ll have to first open the URL in your default web browser before you gain access to the full-blown share menu.

I’m going to show you how to get around that with a few quick taps. Once you’ve taken care of this, you’ll find the sharing of URLs outside of Slack to be a bit more efficient. This is especially important if you find yourself sharing a lot of URLs while on the go. Those extra taps can add up.

Let’s fix that.

SEE: IT pro’s guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (TechRepublic download)

What you’ll need

Why you would want to do this

There are two important reasons why you might want to do this. The first I’ve already mentioned–efficiency. You don’t want to have to be adding extra taps to your work while on the go. 

The second reason is a bit more important. When Slack opens a URL within the app itself, it uses Android WebView. WebView has been around for some time and although it is (for the most part) secure, it has had its share of security issues. Because of that, you might not want to trust sensitive links to that system. What if you open a URL within a Slack thread that leads you to a page displaying sensitive company information? You might not want to risk opening that with WebView, and would rather open it in your default mobile browser.

How to open URLs in your default browser

To enable this change, open the Slack app on Android. Once the app is open, tap the menu button in the upper-left corner and tap Settings (Figure A).

Figure A

The Slack menu on Android.

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The Slack menu on Android.

In the resulting window, tap Advanced (Figure B).

Figure B

The Slack Settings window on Android.

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The Slack Settings window on Android.

In the Advanced window, tap the On/Off slider for Open Web Pages In App until it’s disabled (Figure C).

Figure C

Disabling Open Web Pages In App on Slack.

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Disabling Open Web Pages In App on Slack.

And that’s all there is to it. Now, when you tap a URL within a Slack community thread or direct message, the link will automatically open in your Android default browser. No more having to tap the menu button, and then tap Open In Chrome or rely on Android WebView. 

Your Slack mobile experience just got a bit easier and (possibly) a bit more secure.

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