Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers worldwide, be it on mobile or PC. Although Chrome’s stable versions are feature-rich in their own right and get updated regularly with performance improvements and new features, those wanting to get even more out of the Chrome browser with UI and performance tweaks can do so with the help of flags.

15 best chrome flags to get more out of chrome [2023] - best google chrome flags

If you use Chrome to browse the web on your computer or smartphone and are interested in customizing your experience and trying out unreleased features, here’s a quick guide on Chrome flags.

What Are Chrome Flags?

Flags are experimental tweaks in Chrome that add new functionality to the browser. Google uses flags to put out its upcoming/experimental features in front of other developers and users to collect feedback.

Sometimes, it uses this feedback to tune the feature before releasing it to the public in a stable Chrome release. Other times, it simply drops the feature, and the flag disappears.

Unlike other Chrome features, flags aren’t easily accessible; they’re hidden deep down in the settings to prevent users from unknowingly enabling them. This is because not all flags are reliable and effective as advertised. Some Chrome flags are buggy—since they’re in the development phase—and can, therefore, deteriorate your experience instead of improving it.

How to Access Chrome Flags?

As we just mentioned, Chrome flags aren’t available inside the Chrome menu/settings like other Chrome features. To access them, you need to visit the Chrome flags webpage.

Open Google Chrome, enter chrome://flags in the address bar, and hit Enter/Return. Here, you’ll see a warning message at the top with a long list of all the flags currently available in Chrome under the Available tab.

To enable a feature, click on the dropdown button beside it and select Enable from the available options in the dropdown menu. If you want to search for a particular flag, copy its name and enter it in the Search flags box at the top. Alternatively, you can append the flag’s name in the Chrome flags URL, like this: chrome://flags/#[flag identifier here]. Eg: chrome://flags/#enable-gpu-rasterization.

how to access chrome flags

When this returns your flag, please enable it using the steps above. Similarly, you can also disable a flag from here. However, remember that when you enable or disable a flag, you need to restart Chrome to apply the changes. If you want to use Chrome flags on mobile devices, the process is pretty much the same.

At any point, if you wish to set all Chrome flags back to their default setting/state, click the Reset all button at the top.

Best Chrome Flags to Enable

Chrome flags are available on all major platforms: Chrome OS, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS. However, while some Chrome flags work on both desktop and mobile versions of Chrome, others are limited to just one platform. We’ll mention the available platforms in the list below to make things clear. FlagPlatforms supported
1Enable Reader ModeDesktop
2Auto Dark Mode for Web ContentsDesktop and Mobile
3Tab Hover Card ImagesDesktop
4Tab GroupsDesktop
5Parallel DownloadingDesktop and Mobile
6Global Media Controls Modern UIDesktop
7GPU RasterizationDesktop and Mobile
8Side SearchDesktop
9Fuzzy Search for Tab SearchDesktop
10Back-Forward CacheDesktop
11Experimental QUIC ProtocolDesktop and Mobile
12Enable System NotificationsDesktop
13Quiet Permission Chip ExperimentDesktop
14Incognito ScreenshotAndroid
15Omnibox Assistant Voice SearchAndroid

Enable Reader Mode

As the name suggests, the Enable Reader Mode flag allows you to enable reader mode in Chrome. When you turn on reader mode on a page, it emphasizes the body of an article/story over visual elements to remove the unnecessary clutter that may cause distractions and, in turn, help you focus on the text. Additionally, this also removes ads on webpages.

Flag: chrome://flags#enable-reader-mode

Platforms Available: Desktop

Auto Dark Mode for Web Contents

Over the years, several apps and services have started adopting the dark interface. Google Chrome also finally has a dark mode. However, it doesn’t apply a dark theme to all the websites you visit. If you wish to do this, you can do so by enabling the Auto Dark Mode for Web Contents flag that automatically renders all web content using a dark theme.

Flag: chrome://flags#enable-force-dark

Platforms Available: Desktop and Mobile

Tab Hover Card Images

If you work with a lot of Chrome tabs, navigating them can sometimes be challenging. To address this, Chrome has the Tab Hover Cards flag, which shows you an image of the tab as you hover over it to give you an idea of its contents.

Flag: chrome://flags#tab-hover-card-images

Platforms Available: Desktop

Tab Groups

Tab Groups is a must-have Chrome flag for better tab management. It allows you to create groups and add multiple tabs to these groups to make them more accessible and easier to work with when you’ve got a bunch of tabs open at once.

Once enabled, you need to create a tab group for using the flag, give it a name, assign a color, and add similar kinds of tabs to this group. After this, you’ll get a grouped section for your tabs highlighted in different colors, which you can then move around and edit to your preference.

Flag: chrome://flags#tab-groups

Platforms Available: Desktop

Parallel Downloading

If you often download large files off of the internet, a download manager is a must-have utility on your computer. Generally speaking, a download manager increases the download speeds by breaking down a large file into multiple segments and then downloading each one of them simultaneously.

However, if you don’t wish to download a separate software and want a similar functionality right inside Chrome, the Parallel Downloading flag can help you achieve that.

Flag: chrome://flags#enable-parallel-downloading

Platforms Available: Desktop and Mobile

Global Media Controls Modern UI

Global Media Controls puts media controls in the browser toolbar. So if you’ve got multiple tabs open, with one of them playing some media (music or video), you can click on the media controls button in the toolbar and control the media directly without having to go into the tab where the media is playing.

Controls vary depending on which website you’re playing content on (and what content you’re playing).

Flag: chrome://flags#global-media-controls-modern-ui

Platforms Available: Desktop

GPU Rasterization

Chrome doesn’t rely on GPU for analyzing graphics and data. However, if your system has one, you can utilize it to offload some of these operations and speed up the browser. Rasterization, for the uninitiated, is the process of converting an image in vector format to its equivalent raster image that comprises dots, pixels, and lines.

By bringing the GPU in for rasterization, you essentially shift a large part of the workload to GPU, which, as you might know, is ideal for performing such operations.

Flag: chrome://flags#enable-gpu-rasterization

Platforms Available: Desktop and Mobile

Side Search

Side Search is one of the many features Google has been testing in Chrome Canary for a while. As the name suggests, this flag gives you a sidebar in your current tab, which you can use to open Google Search to search for something while also simultaneously browsing a website.

Flag: chrome://flags#side-search

Platforms Available: Desktop

Fuzzy Search for Tab Search

Fuzzy Search is another Chrome flag that simplifies finding tabs in Chrome. If your work requires you to have multiple browser tabs open at once, this flag can make finding tabs in the lot much easier.

Simply enable the flag and press the Ctrl + Shift + A or Command + Shift + A keyboard shortcuts to bring up the fuzzy search window. Then, enter the name of a website and hit Enter/Return, and you’ll be taken to that tab.

Flag: chrome://tab-search-fuzzy-search

Platforms Available: Desktop

Back-Forward Cache

Back-Forward Cache is an optimization flag that aims to enhance the browsing experience on Chrome. It does this by keeping your current page and the previous page (that you just navigated away from) in memory at the same time. That way, when you recall a page you previously visited using the back or forward arrow buttons, you get instant access to the entire page. In some cases, this even loads pages when you don’t have an active internet connection.

Flag: chrome://back-forward-cache

Platforms Available: Desktop

Experimental QUIC Protocol

QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections) is an experimental protocol designed at Google whose goal is to reduce latency and bandwidth when establishing connections. It’s built on top of UDP and is thought of as a replacement for TCP. Hence, it’s also sometimes called TCP/2.

The Experimental QUIC Protocol is an implementation of the same in Chrome. Once enabled, the flag gives you a faster and smoother browsing experience.

Flag: chrome://enable-quic

Platforms Available: Desktop and Mobile

Enable System Notifications

A while back, Google introduced a change in the way Chrome handles notifications wherein it links Chrome’s notifications to your OS’s notifications to offer a unified place for all your notifications. Although the idea behind it is to simplify notifications and offer access to Chrome notifications even when it’s minimized, it can turn into a frustrating experience for most of us.

Fortunately, there’s a flag that lets you disable these unified notifications. It’s called Enable System Notifications, and once you disable it, you will no longer see Chrome notifications in your system’s UI.

Flag: chrome://enable-system-notifications

Platforms Available: Desktop

Quiet Permission Chip Experiment

Chrome sends you permissions notification to notify you of websites that require access to your location, microphone, camera, etc. Although this pop-up is extremely important and lets you grant or deny permissions easily, it feels intrusive and can be quite annoying.

However, you can fix this by enabling the Quiet Permission Chip Experiment (and the Permissions Chip Experiment: #permission-chip) flags. Doing so will disable the annoying pop-up and instead show you a notification icon in the address bar. You can then tap on this icon to view the requested permissions and grant/deny them.

Flag: chrome://permission-quiet-chip

Platforms Available: Desktop

Incognito Screenshot

If you attempt to take a screenshot in incognito mode on Android, it will capture a blank screen. And that’s for privacy reasons. But starting Chrome for Android version 88, Google is adding an option to enable incognito screenshots by changing a Chrome flag. To do that, just search for “Incognito Screenshot” under Chrome://flags and enable it.

Mind you, this is an Android-only flag and is not available on iOS or iPadOS.

Flag: chrome://incognito-screenshot

Platforms Available: Android

Omnibox Assistant Voice Search

With Omnibox Assistant Voice Search, you can replace Google Voice in Chrome with Google Assistant. Chrome will use Google Assistant when you tap the microphone button and get you personalized search results.

Again, this is an Android-only flag and is not available on iOS or iPadOS.

Flag: chrome://omnibox-assistant-voice-search

Platforms Available: Android

Enable Chrome Flags for an Improved Experience

If you use Google Chrome for web browsing, these Chrome flags can help you add more functionality to your browser and improve the overall browsing experience. Additionally, you can also find a few of these Chrome flags on other Chromium-based browsers, like Brave.

Some of the Chrome flags we’ve listed here have been around for quite some time now, and they work really well. However, others disappear and reappear from time to time.

So, if you don’t see the flag you’re looking for, it may have been discontinued, released in the main version of Chrome, or is in the pipeline to be released soon. Check out Chrome Canary to see more flags.

FAQs About Chrome Flags

Chrome flags have been a popular tool for web developers to use in their work. However, there are some concerns that they could be vulnerable to being exploited by attackers. This is because they haven't gone through the extensive testing required to make it into the stable version of the Google Chrome browser.

But generally speaking, Chrome flags are safe to use. The only time you might want to be wary of this is if an attacker has access to your machine and knows how to exploit them.

In Chrome's address bar, type chrome://flags to access the Chrome flags page on your Android device. When you type in the flag's name in the search box, it automatically turns on and off. Depending on what you choose, Chrome will enable or disable the flag after restarting.

If you have too many Chrome extension icons next to your address bar that makes Chrome UI look a bit messy, Google has come to your rescue with the #extensions-toolbar-menu flag, which combines all the icons into a single dropdown menu to create an order.

Launch your Chrome browser on your Chromebook, Windows PC, Mac, iOS, or Android device. To enable flags in Chrome, enter chrome://flags/ into the address bar at the top. It opens up a long list of Chome flags. Ensure you know what exactly you are doing before you edit any Chrome flag.

Enabling Chrome flags on phones is pretty much similar to how you would do on desktops. Just go to your Chrome browser address bar and enter chrome://flags/ and it should open the page with a long list of Chrome flags. Ensure you only edit the flags you really know about.

Yes, you can disable all Chrome flags if you wish to without breaking any default feature. To do that, go to your Chrome address bar and press the button on the top-right corner that says Reset all to disable all Chrome flags at once.

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