10 Best Hidden Google Chrome Flags in 2022

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There’s more to Google Chrome, the world’s most popular browser, than meets the eye. Some useful features and customization options you might like are hidden under the hood. These are known as “chrome flags”. In this article, we walk you through the best Chrome flags you should check out.

Since Google’s Chromium-based browser is available on multiple platforms, these flags are available on all different platforms. Some flags work on all platforms including Windows, Linux, ChromeOS, Fuchsia, and Android. Contrary to this, some others only exist on certain platforms.

What are Chrome flags?

“Chrome flags” are the hidden settings of Google Chrome as a group of experimental features. Their usefulness ranges from subtle UI tweaks to performance improvements. Because these indicators are in a work-in-progress state, they may not always work as expected.

Usually the idea is that these features will eventually make their way to a stable release. However, sometimes these features can also be started during this testing phase. So if you’re someone who likes to try new features early, you might want to use these Chrome flags.

The Best Chrome Flags You Should Be Using

To find these hidden flags in Chrome, type “chrome://flags” in the address bar and press the Enter key to load the “Experiments” page. From there, you can use the drop-down menu next to a particular indicator to toggle it on or off. You can read more about the flag’s purpose and supported platforms in the description.

The Experiments page allows you to browse and enable or disable flags. (Picture: Chromium)

Parallel Download

If you want to increase the speed of your downloads, you should try enabling this flag. This feature speeds up your downloads by splitting the file into several smaller parts and then downloading them simultaneously or in parallel.

Go to the address bar and enter: chrome://flags/#enable-parallel-downloading

Smooth scrolling

Sometimes any kind of stutter while scrolling through a stream can seem surprisingly annoying. You can enable this Chrome flag to smooth out the jerky scrolling experience.

Enter in the address bar: chrome://flags/#smooth-scrolling

Save and Autofill UPI/VPA

Considering the popularity of Unified Payment Interface (UPI) in India, Chrome seems to be testing a special feature that detects UPI or VPA ID in forms and asks to save it in the browser. The next time you open a similar form, we suggest autofilling the ID for you.

Enable by searching: chrome://flags/#enable-autofill-upi-vpa

With regard to UPI, it should be pointed out that the popular payment method can now also be used offline via 123Pay. This is a potential game-changer for users who own feature phones (devices other than smartphones).

Reader Mode

This flag is useful for those who read a lot online. Reader mode ensures that poorly organized web pages are displayed in a format that makes it easier to read. After enabling this flag, you just need to click on the reader mode button on the right side of the address bar to enable/disable it.

In the same bar, you can search for it directly by typing: chrome://flags/#enable-reader-mode

reader mode
A web page with reader mode enabled. (Picture: Chromium)

Tab hover card (desktop/laptop only)

Want to take a quick look at the contents of the tab without switching to it? After enabling this flag, you can hover your cursor over a tab to see a “hover map” preview of its contents.

In the address bar, enter this URL: chrome://flags/#tab-hover-card-images

Pull-to-refresh (desktop/laptop only)

The swipe down gesture is almost synonymous with reloading a web page on smartphones. However, a similar feature is absent on laptops despite having a trackpad and accompanying finger swipe functions. Enabling this flag will allow you to refresh the page with a quick swipe on your trackpad (try using the same gesture you use for scrolling but in a quick burst).

Enter the address bar: chrome://flags/#pull-to-refresh

Side panel (desktop/laptop only)

This one is for those who want to reduce the number of clicks needed to get to their favorite websites and articles. Once you’ve enabled this experimental feature, you can access your bookmarks and reading list by clicking the side panel button.

To find this flag, go to: chrome://flags/#side-panel

sidebar
A screenshot showing the functionality of the side panel. (Picture: Chromium)

Private browsing screenshot (Android only)

When using Chrome on a smartphone, you can’t take a screenshot in the Incognito tab – it just saves an empty tab if you try to do so. If you want to change this rule, take screenshots normally in the Incognito tab, then enable this flag.

Just look at this: chrome://flags/#incognito-screenshot

Enable incognito download warning (Android only)

Although Incognito mode leaves no trace in terms of web history, the files you download during the session are still saved to your storage even after you quit the browser. This flag gives you a nice reminder whenever you save something while browsing in an incognito window/tab.

Visit this address to find it quickly: chrome://flags/#incognito-downloads-warning

Dynamic color theme (Android only)

This Chrome flag brings the new “Material You” theme into Chrome on supported devices, including Pixel devices running Android 12. Enabling it gives a subtle and refreshing look to the Chrome browser.

For this flag go to: chrome://flags/#dynamic-color-android

This completes our list of the coolest hidden features and Chrome flags available in Google Chrome as you write. Think we missed some cool flag features? Give it a shout in the comments below.

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