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Chrome for Android: Tips and Tricks (2020)

Make the most of Chrome for Android!

by: - Last updated on: November 17th, 2020

A web browser is probably one of the most used apps on a smartphone for most users. Even though most services have their native apps these days, a web browser is far from becoming defunct any time soon. In fact, all the various online tasks that most of us are aware of will continue to require a browser. If you are an Android user, there are a plethora of browsers to choose from on the Play Store. However, that said, Google Chrome still remains one of the default (and most preferred) web browsers on the mobile side of things.

Chrome for Android

So, since you probably spend a significant amount of time on Chrome to browse the web and download media, we have curated a list of some of the best tips and tricks for Chrome on Android to help you improve your browsing experience.

Chrome for Android Tips and Tricks

1. Enable dark mode

Dark mode is slowly becoming ubiquitous across apps and interfaces these days. And a lot of people seem to be on board with the idea of having dark interfaces across the board. If you happen to have a liking for dark mode, Chrome for Android gives you the option to enable it.

Dark mode

1. Open Chrome.
2. Click on the three-dot menu (on the top-right) and select Settings.
3. Scroll down and click on Theme under Basics.
4. Select Dark.

2. Use Lite mode to save data

One of the best features on Chrome, especially for those who have a data cap on their internet connection, is Lite mode. Lite mode works by loading only essential content on a webpage. It relies on Google servers to load pages faster and presents you with stats on how much data you have saved. According to Google, Chrome uses up to 60 percent less data when browsing in Lite mode.

1. Open Chrome and click on the three-dot menu from the top-right corner.
2. Select Settings and click on Lite mode.
3. Toggle the button on.

3. Change default search engine

Even though Google tops the list of search engines by a large stretch, there are some who prefer/need to use some other search engine. With Chrome, Google brings some of the popular search engines onboard like Yahoo!, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. So, if you need to use any of those engines, you can do so within Chrome itself.

Search engine

1. Open Chrome and go to Settings.
2. Click on Search Engine under the Basics section.
3. On the next screen, select the search engine you want to use.

4. Switch tabs quickly

By default, the most natural way people switch between tabs on Chrome is by clicking on the tabs button and selecting the tab they want to view. However, since that involves a few steps, a quick shortcut can help get around those clicks and save some time. To switch between tabs, swipe right or left on the address bar area in the browser. That said, the shortcut comes in handy when you only have a few tabs open and you want to go back and forth between a few of them. In case you have a large number of tabs open, upwards in the multiple of 10, you might still need to go the traditional route.

5. Quickly refresh a webpage

At times when a webpage fails to load entirely, or you revisit it and need to reload the content, the quickest way to go about it is to swipe down from the top.

6. Browse privately with incognito mode

Incognito mode is a nifty feature on browsers that lets you browse privately. With incognito mode enabled, Chrome does not remember your browsing history, cookies, and site data, and whatever information you enter into forms. Thus, keeping your online activity private. However, that said, you should know that your activities are still visible to other people like your internet service provider.

1. Open Chrome.
2. Click on the three-dot menu and select New incognito mode.

7. Preload pages to speed up browsing

Unlike the Lite mode, which quickly loads only the essential elements on a webpage to save data, the preload pages feature works completely in the opposite way. It leverages cookies to preload websites it thinks you might ope,n and learns from your behavior. Thus, enabling instant access to websites and saving some time in the process.

Preload pages

1. Open Chrome and go to Settings.
2. Select Privacy under Basics and check the box next to Preload pages for faster browsing and searching.

8. Perform a quick search by highlighting text

A lot of the times, when you are browsing the internet or reading an article/post, you come across certain terms/phrases that you are unacquainted with, and therefore, need to look-up on the web. Although you can go the usual route and search for the same in a new tab, thanks to Chrome’s rich feature set, you can do it more efficiently. For this, while you are on a website on Chrome, click on a word to get a pop-up card with more details on the subject. If you want to look up phrases or series of words in a sentence, long press and highlight the text to reveal related information.

9. Create a website shortcut on the home screen

Similar to Safari (on iOS), which allows users to add frequently visited websites to the springboard (home screen) for quick access, Google Chrome also provides the website shortcut feature. So, if you have certain websites that you visit very frequently, you can add them to the home screen of your device, which look and function just like a native app.

Add website to home screen

1. Open Chrome and go to the website (you want to add to the home screen).
2. Click on the three-dot menu on the top-right and select Add to Home screen from the options.
3. Enter the name in the name field and hit Add.

10. Zoom-in on any website

Although a lot of websites have adopted responsive design these days, there are still some sites that do not have a mobile version, which can make them hard to navigate, especially for older people. To add to that, there are AMP pages, which come with their own share of problems and also restrict zooming-in to pages. Thanks to Chrome, you can override such websites’ request to prevent zooming and enable zoom on any website and zoom-in and zoom-out.

Force enable zoom

1. Open Chrome and navigate to Settings.
2. Scroll down to the Advanced section and click on Accessibility.
3. Here, check the box next to Force enable zoom.

11. Use picture-in-picture mode

Picture-in-picture is a multitasking feature that allows you to play content in a small window while performing other tasks. For this, the service that provides the content uses an overlay to run its app over other apps. One of the most common use-cases of picture-in-picture mode is with YouTube, which a lot of people use to listen to music or podcast in the background. Setting up picture-in-picture is fairly straightforward and requires just a few steps. Once enabled, all you need to do is play the video on a webpage and swipe-up or hit the home button, and the video will play in picture-in-picture mode.

Picture-in-picture

1. Open the phone’s Settings and go to Apps & Notifications.
2. Click Advanced and select Special app access.
3. Tap on Picture-in-picture.
4. On the next screen, select Chrome and toggle the switch on.

12. Request desktop site

By default, when you visit a website, you view the mobile version, which is tailored to fit and function adequately on mobile. However, at times, there are websites that restrict certain functionalities to their desktop versions only. In such scenarios, your best bet is to switch to the desktop version to get the desktop-equivalent functionality on your mobile phone.

Access desktop site

1. Open Chrome and visit the website (you want to view the desktop version of).
2. Click the three-dot menu and check the box next to Desktop site.

13. Sync data across different devices

Similar to Apple, which gives its users the ability to sync all their Safari data between devices, Google also offers similar functionality with Chrome. So, if you use Chrome on all your devices, you can sync all your data like history, bookmark, passwords, and more between those devices.

1. Open Chrome and click on the three-dot menu.
2. Go into Settings and click on Sign in to Chrome under the Account section.
3. Follow and on-screen instructions to sign in.

14. Translate websites

If your work involves visiting websites in other regions of the world with different native languages, Google has got you covered with built-in support for translations on Chrome, which simplifies your life by allowing you to translate text on any website to any other language.

1. Open Chrome and click on the three-dot menu.
2. Select Translate from the options, and from the bottom of the screen, choose the language you want to translate text into.
3. To reveal more languages, click on the three-dot menu on the translate card, click on More languages, and select a language from the list.

15. Save websites as PDF

Even though internet speeds are becoming super fast these days — facilitating quick access to possibly anything you can think of on the internet — if you like reading a lot, you would certainly find certain posts fascinating that you might want to revisit at a later time, or want to save for offline access and read later using some other app. With Chrome, it is easy to save webpages as PDF for offline access.

Save website as PDF

1. Open the webpage you want to save and click on the three-dot menu.
2. Select Share from the options and click on Print.
3. Finally, hit the Save as PDF button.

If you use Chrome as your default browser on Android, you can use these tips and tricks to utilize some of the best features and functionalities that the browser has to offer. And in turn, get more out of the browser. The tips and tricks we have listed here are very straightforward and do not require any kind of browser modification. In case you want to extract even more out of the browser, you should check out our guide on Chrome flags.

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