How to Change Default Torrent Client for Magnet Links in Ubuntu 20.04+

When clicking a magnet link in Chrome browser, it pops-up with “Open xdg-open” option allows to launch the default app to start the downloading.

Unlike Firefox, Google Chrome does not offer an option to choose which app to handle the link. Instead, it launches the default app directly. For those want to change this default app to handle magnet links, here’s how to do the trick in Ubuntu.

Click “Open xdg-open” to open link via default app

Step 1: Tell the default app for magnet links:

Firstly, press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open a terminal window. When it opens, run the command below will tell the default app for magnet links:

xdg-mime query default x-scheme-handler/magnet

Here xdg-mime is the standard wrapper. User may also run this command instead, which will also output the registered applications:

gio mime x-scheme-handler/magnet

Tell the default app for magnet

Step 2: Set/Change the default app for magnet links:

As the previous steps shows, the both command also support for changing the default app. Say set “QBittorrent” as default app for magnet link, use command:

xdg-mime default org.qbittorrent.qBittorrent.desktop x-scheme-handler/magnet

Or use command:

gio mime x-scheme-handler/magnet org.qbittorrent.qBittorrent.desktop

For any other app, replace org.qbittorrent.qBittorrent.desktop in the previous commands via the .desktop file. You may even set an un-registered app as default, and gio command will register it as well.

In addition, by changing the mime type “x-scheme-handler/magnet“, user may use the previous commands to tell (or set) other file type’s default app.