I'm trying to find out what the name of the element which asks you to choose which application to open a file in. This is on Android OS.

The element:

the element

Does anyone know the name?


3 Answers 3


It depends on whether it makes sense to let the user choose a default or not.

If yes, then you're looking for a disambiguation dialog. In newer Android versions, it's a bottom sheet rather than a dialog:

Android disambiguation dialog

If, on the other hand, you want the user to choose the app every time (such as with a custom share dialog), you would use an app chooser, which looks like this:

enter image description here

Note the lack of "Just once" and "Always" buttons in this dialog.

See the developer documentation for more details.

  • This isn't a disambiguation dialog. Disambiguation in programming is something else. Developer's guides aren't a good source for stuff like this. Right below their little reference to disambiguation, you'll see their name for the dialog which is "app chooser."
    – moot
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 18:18
  • There are two dialog types here: the app chooser and what the guidelines refer to as "a dialog (sometimes referred to as the 'disambiguation dialog')". There are marked differences between the two. You're right, developer guides aren't the best source for this, but there doesn't seem to be a better resource for this particular type of dialog or a more fitting term. The use of this term can be found elsewhere: bit.ly/2sHiSJk bit.ly/2Jyh2AL bit.ly/2LBMa34
    – Tin Man
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 8:05
  • I'm clear on the reference. I'm sorry but you're not. You have to be a programmer to understand the reference. If you are a programmer and you aren't talking about speech or text when using "disambiguation," you don't understand it. You only need good reading comprehension to understand they're not calling it a disambiguation dialog. And your other references??? Ade Oshineye? Willowtree? There are infinitely better resources for this term. Your own main resource does not use this term. Your resource calls it an "app chooser" because that is what it is and that is what it does. Ade Oshineye???
    – moot
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 10:49
  • @moot When you say I don't understand, it makes me angry—let's please keep the conversation civil. We do have a different viewpoint, let's see where our differences are. As it happens. I have a degree in software engineering, so I do know a thing or two about programming. Wiktionary defines the word "disambiguation" as "the removal of ambiguity." It may often be used to refer to speech or text, and I assume you're in an environment where it's used strictly in that sense, but its definition is broader...
    – Tin Man
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 17:10
  • @moot In any case, the "disambiguation dialog" doesn't really have a settled name. The developer reference calls it "a dialog (sometimes referred to as the 'disambiguation dialog')" and that's as close as we come to an official term. I think we disagree on two things: 1) the chooser dialog and the disambiguation dialog are different things, and 2) the disambigution dialog's name.
    – Tin Man
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 17:19

According to the developers' information from Android it is an App Chooser.


@Mike answered with a good name which is "App Chooser." This is the name used by the guidelines.

@Tin Man answered:

"It depends on whether it makes sense to let the user choose a default or not.

If yes, then you're looking for a disambiguation dialog. In newer Android versions, it's a bottom sheet rather than a dialog:" "Note the lack of "Just once" and "Always" buttons in this dialog."

It has nothing to do with the default setting selection part of the dialog. There's nothing in the guidelines that says that.

The guidelines clearly, and literally, do not call the default question component of the dialog UI a disambiguation dialog. They say the entire process is "sometimes referred to" as a disambiguation dialog. Dialog is a process, not a UI component or part of one.

Here is your disambiguation reference:

enter image description here

Here is the good part of the reference that follows:

enter image description here

I highlighted all the times they call it an App Chooser. I also highlighted where they refer to the default question.

In the guidelines where you got your term, they literally describe the part of the dialog where users say it's a default as "nice." You are stating that it is the key component that defines it as disambiguation.

Disambiguation is deep in programming. Programming runs on words. Disambiguation is what programming languages do to programming code. Their use and meaning is like equations in math. So issues of terminology are very different.

  • Here's the part that says the chooser dialog is a different entity: "However, if the action to be performed could be handled by multiple apps and the user might prefer a different app each time**—...—you should explicitly show **a chooser dialog as shown in figure 2."
    – Tin Man
    Commented Jul 7, 2018 at 12:32
  • As for dialogs not being UI components, they're categorized as such in the Material Design Guidelines.
    – Tin Man
    Commented Jul 7, 2018 at 12:35
  • @tin Again, you're misinterpreting or don't understand what you're quoting. In your reference, the word dialog is referring to the whole process, not the UI component. We're talking about your reference. It never says the chooser dialog is a different "entity". Entity is not a good word for UI or programming.
    – moot
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 16:31
  • @tin So you're still saying your reference doesn't clearly call it an app chooser dialog?
    – moot
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 16:33
  • From my reference: "A dialog is a type of modal window that appears in front of app content to provide critical information or ask for a decision". Also, it's categorized under components. And, yes, I still contend that the terms "app chooser" and "chooser dialog" only apply to the second component described on the page, the one in figure 2.
    – Tin Man
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 18:44

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