It’s no surprise that Google has had a hidden Reader Mode on Chrome for Android and PC for quite some time, requiring you to enable a flag that triggers it. If you’re on PC, though, you still get this option. However, if you’re on Android, the reader mode flag doesn’t work anymore.

chrome reader mode

Instead, Google has introduced the Simplified View mode on Chrome some time back, which works in pretty much the same way. So if you’re wondering how to get reader mode in Chrome on Android, here’s a guide to help you navigate better.

What Is Simplified View?

Simplified view is an accessibility feature on Chrome for Android that makes websites more mobile-friendly for a better reading experience. To do this, it strips down all the distracting and non-essential elements on a webpage and turns down the color scheme to monochrome, improving the readability of the text on the webpage. Moreover, it also removes ads on a web page to facilitate an ad-free reading experience, which makes the reading mode so appealing to many users.

Much like the Chrome reader mode, the simplified view mode also gives you the ability to customize the appearance of web pages in reader view. This allows you to change various elements of the webpage, such as background color, font size, and font style, to your preference.

What Happened to Reader Mode Chrome Flag? And Does It Work Anymore?

Like we just mentioned, the flag method wherein you’d use the #reader-mode-heuristics flag to enable reader mode in Chrome for Android doesn’t give a reader mode option anymore. So now, if you enable this flag, instead of giving you a pop-up to enable mobile-friendly view (or reader mode), it turns on the simplified view option in the settings instead.

How to Enable Reader Mode (Simplified View) in Chrome for Android

Simplified view is available as part of accessibility settings in Chrome for Android, and you can enable it in a few simple steps. But before you proceed, make sure to update Chrome to the latest version from the Play Store.

Once done, use these steps to turn on the simplified mode in Chrome:

  1. Open Chrome on your Android device.
  2. Tap on the three vertical dots in the top-right corner of the browser and select Settings from the menu options.
    enable simplified view on chrome for android
  3. On the Settings page, scroll down to the Advanced section and click on Accessibility.
    enable simplified view on chrome for android
  4. Check off the checkbox next to Simplified view for web pages to enable simplified view.
    enable simplified view on chrome for android

How to View a Page in Reader Mode (Simplified View) in Chrome for Android

Once you’ve enabled simplified view on Chrome, every time you open a webpage with an article, you’ll see a banner/prompt at the bottom of the webpage with the text Show simplified view.

prompt to enable simplified view

Simply tap on this banner, and it’ll open the article in simplified view. You can continue to read the article in this view or exit it by hitting the x icon in the top-left corner of the webpage.

Furthermore, if you wish to personalize your reading experience, you can change the appearance of simplified view using the following steps.

  1. First, make sure you’ve opened the webpage in simplified view.
  2. Hit the three vertical dot menu in the top-right and choose Appearance from the menu.
    customizing simplified view appearance
  3. Now, depending on what aspect of the simplified view you want to change, click on the appropriate option in the appearance settings box.customizing simplified view appearance

At the time of writing this, you can change the background color, font size, and font style of the elements on the page. So if you want to change, say, the background color, tap on any of the three color options aligned horizontally to use it.

Similarly, to change the font style, click on the dropdown button next to the font name and select a font option from the list, and to adjust the font size, drag the slider to get your desired font size for the webpage.

Moreover, if you don’t like the banner style alert for a simplified view, you can change it to use the Messages UI on Android. Follow the steps below to do this:

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Tap on the address bar and go to the Chrome flags page.
  3. In the Search flags search box, enter reader mode.
  4. From the results, tap on the dropdown button next to the Reader Mode Messages UI flag and select Enabled from the options.
  5. Click on the Relaunch button in the banner below to relaunch Chrome with the applied changes.

Now, when you visit a website that supports reader view, you’ll see a View simplified page. pop-up on the top. Tap on the View button here to turn on the simplified view.

message ui-inspired simplified view prompt

Related Read: What is Android System WebView and Should You Disable it?

How to Force Disable Simplified View on Chrome for Android

Disabling the Simplified view is pretty straightforward: Go to Settings > Accessibility and uncheck the checkbox next to the Simplified view for web pages.

However, as it turns out, some Chrome users have reported that even after they disable the simplified view using this method, the pop-up for the simplified view continues to show up on every webpage.

Fortunately, there’s a way around this situation, and it involves using a Chrome flag. So if you’re facing the same issue, here’s how you can disable the annoying simplified view pop-up alerts:

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Tap on the address bar and head over to Chrome flags.
  3. Tap the search bar that says Search flags and lookup reader mode.
  4. Click on the dropdown button on the Reader Mode triggering flag and select Never from the menu options.

    force disable simplified view on chrome for android

  5. In the banner that pops up, click on the Relaunch button to relaunch Chrome and apply your changes.

Now, when you visit a website and open a blog, you shouldn’t see the simplified view banner in your browser.

Related Read: What is Bionic Reading and How to Enable it?

Read Articles on Chrome Without Any Distractions

Using simplified view, you should now be able to read articles or blogs on Chrome in reader view without any distractions. Although simplified view works in pretty much the same way as the reader mode, you do get to customize some of the elements on the webpage using it, which is a nice touch that helps you personalize your reading experience.

FAQs About Chrome Reading Mode on Android

You can turn off reader mode (or simplified view, as it's called nowadays) by going into Settings > Accessibility and unchecking the box next to Simplified view for web pages. However, if Chrome continues to show you banners to turn on simplified view, you can use the flag method to force turn off simplified view on Android, as demonstrated in the guide above.

Reading mode is a browser feature on most web browsers mode wherein it strips away all the unnecessary and distracting elements on a webpage and improves readability to offer a distraction-free and pleasant reading experience.

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