Google Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers available for mobile and desktop, but what you see is definitely not all you get. If you want a basic browsing experience, Chrome offers this, but you can extend and modify Chrome to suit your needs. One way to do this is to enable Chrome flags.
These are hidden settings and features that you can enable to change how Chrome works. You do not need to install anything for this, as these flags are available from the secret menu in the address bar.
Here are some of the best Chrome flags you can use to improve your web experience, along with a detailed description of how to enable them.
What are Chrome flags and why should I enable them?
As we mentioned, Chrome has a hidden menu with hundreds of different settings and functions that you can enable, disable, or change to change how Chrome works. These are the so-called Chrome flags – some of these flags are new and experimental features or settings, while others are hidden settings.
Instead of hiding these settings completely, Chrome users who know where to look can access them by typing chrome: // flags in the address bar. This works in the PC and Mac versions of Chrome, as well as Chrome for mobile.
In most cases, enabling Chrome flags will only change your Chrome browsing experience, not completely change it. Some of the best Chrome flags on offer are designed to improve this – like grouped tabs and smooth page scrolling flags, which we’ll cover later in this article.
You don’t need to use Chrome flags, but if you do, you can take full advantage of some of Chrome’s hidden secrets in the process. You can also use Chrome flags to reduce memory usage, for example, as a possible way to prevent Chrome from crashing.
How to enable or disable Chrome Flags
Turning Chrome flags on and off is a simple process, and the process is the same regardless of your version of Chrome or the device you are using. However, some of the flags you have access to may differ.
- To access the Chrome flags menu, enter chrome: // flags in the address bar. You can also access this menu by typing chrome: // chrome-urls and clicking the specified chrome: // flags link.
- You can also bind a flag directly. This will load the Chrome flags menu and highlight the specific flag. Links for each flag are shown below each entry – to use them, enter chrome: // flags / # sample-flag in the address bar, replacing # sample-flag with your flag.
- The available flags for your device will be listed in the Available tab on the Chrome Flags menu page, and flags that you cannot access or use will be listed in the Not Available tab.
Base flags will have options that can be turned on or off, as well as a default option if the flag is set to Chrome’s default option. There are also configurable options for more complex flags.
- To enable or disable the Chrome flag, click the drop-down menu next to the flag and select Enabled to enable it, or Disabled to disable it. Li>
Your Chrome flags will be applied automatically, but in many cases you will need to restart your browser to see them applied.
The best Chrome flags you can try
There are hundreds of experimental flags to try and use on the Chrome flags page, but the best ones are features that are likely to appear in the mainstream Chrome browser at some point.
However, to get you started, here are ten of the best Chrome flags you can try right now. They can be found by searching for the #flag tag in Chrome’s flags menu.
Smoother pages with smooth scrolling flag
This flag will help you if you find that the scrolling of the page on your device is intermittent or unnatural. Enabling this setting will enable smoother animation for scrolling through pages. To enable it, search for # smooth-scrolling.
Enable HTTP / 3 QUIC support for faster browsing
HTTP / 3 is a protocol developed by Google to speed up the Internet. The # enable-quic flag, also called QUIC, enables this option, but it will only work with sites that were designed with QUIC in mind.
Hide Chrome Extension Icons Using Extension Toolbar Checkbox
If you have too many Chrome extension icons appearing next to your address bar, making the Chrome UI look a little messy, then Google will help you set the # extension-toolbar-menu flag. All icons will be placed in a single dropdown menu to keep things in order.
Speed ??up downloads with the parallel download flag
Chrome downloads are not always the fastest, but enabling the # enable-parallel-download flag might help. This forces Chrome to split any pending downloads into smaller chunks that are downloading at the same time, which increases your connection speed and speeds up downloads in the process.
Check the security of your password with the password leak detection flag
From month to month, sites are hacked, and passwords are leaked. The # password-leak-detection flag will warn you if any passwords stored by Google end up in a publicly leaked database like HaveIBeenPwned, making it easier to determine if your passwords are safe to use or if you need to change them.
Group tabs together with the Tab Groups flag
The more tabs you have, the more difficult it is to tell one site from another. Using the # tab-groups flag allows you to group tabs into different sections, allowing you to organize and combine relevant sites.
Search open tabs using the omnibox tab switch suggestion flag
You can use the # omnibox-tab-switch-sizes flag to search through open tabs using the address bar. This allows a button that you can click next to the name of any detected tab to switch to that tab – ideal if you can’t find the open tab you’re looking for.
Enhanced network security with the WebRTC IP anonymization flag
Allowing Chrome pages to access your device’s capabilities (such as a webcam or microphone) can inadvertently reveal more data than you think, including the IP addresses of devices on your local network. The # enable-webrtc-hide-local-ips-with-mdns flag will hide any local IP addresses that would otherwise be leaked.
Switch to dark mode with the forced dark mode flag
Most operating systems now offer a dark mode that inverts colors to reduce eye strain. Chrome has this feature too, but not all pages are collaborative. Luckily, you can force more websites to switch to dark mode with the # enable-force-dark flag.
Browse better with Google Chrome
The best Chrome flags to enable are for customizing Chrome’s browsing experience, not completely changing it. However, these flags are subject to change – most of them are experimental and you may find that they have been removed from Chrome or integrated into the main Chrome interface later.
However, there are other ways to improve Chrome. For example, you can install Chrome extensions to further expand its functionality. What tricks do you use to make Chrome better? Let us know in the comments below.