Chrome flags (Enter this in the address bar to search for them- chrome://flags/) comes in all flavors and they affect different aspects of your browsing experience. Some of them will change the UI while others will improve performance and yet others will add functionalities that may or may not make it to the final build which is released to the public.
A while ago, I shared some of my favourite chrome flags for Android, and it’s time we take a look at desktop edition. Note that some flags work on mobile while others on desktop only. Some work on both.
1. Dark Mode (Mobile)
This will make a lot of you happy, especially those who like me, like to have the dark mode on for almost every app they use.
Dark mode can save battery life and is easy on the eyes, both important considerations. Not to mention, they look cool.
There are two options in the search results. You will enable Android Chrome UI dark mode.
2. Increase Download Speeds (Desktop and Mobile)
Parallel downloads can help increase download speeds on any device and I am not sure why this feature hasn’t been released in the stable version yet. Very useful for those who download many files.
Enable it to allow parallel downloads.
3. Autoplay Video (Desktop and Mobile)
This really gets on my nerves. I visit a blog or a site and a random video suddenly starts playing without my permission. This consumes resources, slows down browser and is plain irritating. Use the flag below and set it to Document user activation is required to end this menace now.
On a related note, I would suggest you to also check out this flag which will stop audio files from autoplaying when you visit a site or page. Some websites do not play videos but audio files instead. You can use this settings to quickly mute tabs.
4. Back Button History (Desktop)
You open a site and almost immediately, hit the back button realizing it is not the same site or the wrong page you have landed on. These nefarious sites don’t want you to leave their pages and use malpractices to stop you from going back. There are two Chrome flags to solve this issue.
5. HDR Mode (Desktop)
Do you use Chrome to watch Netflix or other HD videos? If so, you can improve your user experience by enabling the HDR Mode Chrome flag. This will improve the output color render.
6. Chrome Bottom Bar (Mobile)
No, I am not talking about the address bar however that is also a cool Chrome flag. I am talking about the tab switcher or settings shortcut that is usually found at the top of the screen. Since most Androids have large touch screens and settings button or tab switcher is hidden when scrolling, this Chrome flag will place it at the bottom of the screen like so.
7. Permanent Reading Mode (Mobile)
Another useful Chrome flag that will improve productivity and user experience. Reading mode helps remove distractions so you can read articles and guides peacefully in a compact and ad-less design. The option is not available on all blogs and sites but there is a flag to solve that problem.
8. Unsecured Sites (Desktop and Mobile)
Have you noticed how some sites have a green padlock icon near the address bar when the sites have ‘https’ in address? These are secured sites that are safe to browse. Some sites do not have the extra ‘s’ and while they are not secured, Chrome doesn’t highlight it in any way.
Now, when you visit a site that is not secured, you will see the ‘not secure’ text in red color which is easy to view.
9. Remember Scroll Position (Desktop and Mobile)
You are scrolling down on a page when some ad or other element pops up or you go offline and have to reload the page; either way, you lose your position and have to scroll back to that location. Waste of time. Enable the Scroll Anchor Serialization flag to make Chrome remember where you were on the page.
10. Browser Faster (Desktop and Mobile)
Google has come up with a new and more secured protocol that uses TCP and UDP together to offer a more secure browsing experience. You can enable it by looking for the Experimental QUIC protocol.
Also Read: How to Use Chrome Extensions on Android
11. Load images as You Scroll (Desktop)
While most websites are designed to be responsive and only load images as you scroll towards the bottom, some sites try to load them all at the same time. This reduces page load times and consume more resources than necessary. Lazy image flag will solve this problem and will only load images as you scroll.
12. Share Chrome Tabs (Desktop)
If you are using a Chromecast or any other device and would like to share your tabs with these other devices, you need this flag. When you enable the media router component, you can share your tab with your smart TV and so on.
13. New Notification Style (Desktop)
What happens when you receive a notification on Chrome? You are notified. Duh. But the design is old and un-intuitive. The notification style Chrome flag will implement material design so when you do receive a notification, it looks amazing and intuitive.
14. Photo Picker (Mobile)
We all have to upload photos from our mobile to various social media sites like Instagram Facebook, and Twitter. The usual design is really bad but there is a Chrome flag that makes it easier for the small screen and also faster.
Once enabled, instead of the list style icons that makes it impossible to know which photos you should upload, it uses a grid layout.
15. Context Menu Icon (Mobile)
There are no icons in the context menu in Chrome for Android. You can see the text and all the options but having an icon can really help. It’s easier to identify the menu items. To enable dynamic context menu with suitable icons, enable the below Chrome flag.
16. Swipe Navigation (Desktop and Mobile)
If you own a touch screen laptop or want to use this feature on your mobile, continue reading. You can now use swipe gestures to not only move backward on your browser screen but also forward. This will make browsing that much fun and easy.
17. Download Page UI (Mobile)
The download page on Chrome mobile is very bland and there is no way to distinguish between different file types and formats. However, there is a simple flag that you can enable to change this setting.
When you enable this flag, the download tab will use a new material design where you can simply tap on the music icon to view all downloaded music files and so on. This will make it the experience better and sorting through a long list of downloads that much easier.
18. Grouping Tabs (Android)
If you are anything like me, you are working with multiple tabs within a single window to manage your work and personal life. The problem is that most tabs are scattered and Chrome doesn’t offer any way to manage tabs.
Once this Chrome flag is enabled, you can group similar tabs in to a single window which will make it that much easier to switch between tabs. This is true for smaller screens where screen estate is really limited.
Best Chrome Flags
While there are many more Chrome flags that you can experiment with, these are some of the best and most productive Chrome flags that will enhance your browsing experience on both mobile and desktop that much better. Do you know of any other Chrome flag that you think should be part of this list? Do mention them in the comment below.