Is the ‘Open In’ Feature in iOS Limited to 10 Apps?

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Open In

I came across an odd iOS issue earlier today – apparently the ‘Open In’ feature is limited to ten apps in its list. The Open In feature is the one that lets you choose which app to use when opening an email attachment, for instance. So, for example, if you have several PDF editing apps installed you can choose which one to open a PDF file in from Mail or Dropbox.

Earlier today I was looking to open a PDF file on my new iPad and wanted to open it in GoodReader – which has recently been updated with ‘retina display optimization’ on the new iPad. When I tapped and held on my test PDF file in the Mail app and chose Open In, I got a list of ten apps, but there was no sign of GoodReader in the list.

I initially thought it might just be an issue with the Mail app, so I tried another PDF and using Open In in the Dropbox app. Same again though – 10 apps listed and no GoodReader.

At this point I wondered a little about whether I might need to delete one of the ten apps listed in the Open In list in order to see GoodReader as an option – but that just sounded crazy to me.

Then I did a quick Google search and learned my thought was not that crazy and, more importantly, this looks like an issue that many iOS users have come across. I quickly discovered this Apple Discussion Forums thread, where lots of users are sharing their frustration on this issue.

There’s even a GoodReader FAQ item on this:

I try to use "Open In" menu in some other app to send PDF and other files to GoodReader, but I don’t see GoodReader in the list of apps

The following is valid only if you’re referring to a file type that GoodReader actually supports (like .PDF, .TXT, .ZIP, etc.)

The Open In functionality is controlled by iOS, we have no active control over it, we just declare GoodReader to be capable of accepting certain file types. iOS is known to show only a limited number (10 or so) of randomly selected apps for any given file type when you invoke the Open In action in any app. The actual maximum number of apps depends on a device type and on a version of iOS. The only way to resolve this issue is to delete some apps that you don’t need that expose themselves for a particular file type, to make way to other eligible apps.

And I found that deleting an app (a printer utility app) ‘fixed’ the issue – GoodReader showed up again in the Open In list as soon as the app was deleted. When I reinstalled that app it was put back into the Open In list but GoodReader also remained in the list – and another app was bumped from it.

I don’t see anywhere in Settings where you can choose which apps to use with Open In, or which to use with which file types. It looks like Apple needs to either get rid of the 10 app limit in the Open In list or give us a settings option to choose which apps we want to be included.

Have any of you come across this issue?

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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18 thoughts on “Is the ‘Open In’ Feature in iOS Limited to 10 Apps?”

  1. I have come across this way too many times to count! One of the music apps I use is UnRealBook. This app is constantly not in the open in menu! Which means that menu is somewhat based on an alphabetical order.

    There was one time though that this open in menu actually had 15 or more apps in it! I have never seen that happen again though!

    I wish someone had a fix for this. My fix is to not use the open in menu. I simply use DropBox and Moore files from there.

  2. I’ve had this problem also and didn’t know what the cause was. Guess I need to do some app “shuffling”

  3. I have the same as above. I agree that either Apple remove the 10-app limit or at allow users to choose the apps to appear on the “open with” menu.

  4. This is REALLY a very, VERY, ennoying and OLD problem and it seems Apple is not able to solve it (please, Steve, do something)… I wonder why nobody in the Cydia community did not still solve this simple thing consisting of replacing somewhere a constant number with a greater one…

  5. After deleting iBook, my open in list shows 28 apps for opening PDF. When I reinstall iBook, the list changes back to 10.

  6. I have tripped over this ‘limit’ issue too. FYI. Dropbox seems to be 9 and Boxnet seems to be about 13.

    Im too, hope IOS 6 addresses this.

  7. I had more than 27 App for PDF. When 10 app limit appears, I will removed 5 or more unused app in the ‘open in’ list. Then remaining list will bring back again. So just add some redundant app in your related ‘open in’ list that used to be removed or install to bring back your complete app list. Usually, the most frequently used app in the list are enough. It works both on iphone and iPad.

  8. Ummm, I must be doing done something wrong!.. working out of ‘Albums’ 2.1.2 by Hedonic Software (i.e. .jpeg files) the Open In.. list contains a choice of 31 apps.. Out of ‘Line Brush’ (.jpg); 35, out of ‘GoDocs’ (.doc) 24 apps… Not always the same set of apps. However, in the native ‘Mail’ app only 10 apps are listed to open an attachment… curious!

  9. Always 10 for me, & requires deleting an app and reinstalling to get even iBooks to show up, itself no longer listed. Recall deleting an app deletes “all its data”, so choose wisely!

    A bug older than a year doesnt seem to be getting any attention. New features seem way more important, as do show stoppers. In lieu of feedback or tech support (AppleCare?), there are hosted forums and really helpful technical support articles. A search starting with “Apple Support” is often most direct to an official answer. Somebody watches the forums as questions do close as “answered or unanswered”

  10. Same here … VERY FRUSTRATING … I hope that this Wednesdays update to iOS6 will solve the problem …

  11. Really annoying! I reeive work docs that cannnot be opend on numbers or pages – because all I can see is 6 apps to open docs. APPLE – please do something!!

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