Looking to enable better browsing? Speed up Chrome? Google Chrome lets you enable experimental features called flags. Here are the 10 best Google Chrome flags to try.
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You can access Chrome flags in the browser across all the supported platforms—Chrome for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and Chrome OS. To view available flags in Chrome on any of these platforms, type chrome://flags in the address field. The section for Available displays all the flags supported by your current platform; Unavailable shows the flags not supported by your system.
Scroll through the list of available flags or you can look for a specific flag by name or description. In the Search flags field at the top, type the words you want to find in the name or description. Results will populate in real time, allowing you to quickly find a flag.
How to Enable a Chrome Flag
You will notice that most of the flags are disabled, which means they are not active. Sometimes a flag may be enabled if Google deems it sufficiently stable. Some flags may be set to default, which means it may be enabled or disabled.
To manually change a flag"s status, click the button and set it to Enabled or Disabled. If you manually change a flag"s status, the Enabled/Disabled button turns blue, and a blue circle appears in front of the flag"s name. You"re then prompted to restart Chrome for the change to take effect.
The Best Chrome Flags (And a Word of Caution)
Before enabling anything, proceed with caution. Flags are experimental, and though some will improve Chrome, others could do more harm than good. That"s why you never want to enable a bunch of flags in one shot. The best strategy is to read the description of a flag that intrigues you and research it to find out how it works.
If you want to try one, enable that single flag. Restart Chrome and make sure the browser is behaving itself. If you bump into any problems, go back to the flags page and disable the troublesome feature you enabled, which you"ll now find at the top of the list. If you need to reset all the ones you may have changed, click the button at the top to Reset all to default.
Now, let"s check out 10 top flags for Chrome users. You can find these by browsing the list of flags or more easily by searching the flag"s full name.
Chrome"s Incognito mode removes cookies and other elements that websites can use to track you. In past versions of Chrome, Incognito would block access to the browser"s FileSystem API, a tip-off to websites that you were going incognito. In response, many sites would prevent you from viewing certain content. The Filesystem API in Incognito flag creates a virtual file system that prevents sites from detecting Incognito mode.
You can speed up file downloads through a flag known as Parallel Downloading. This one reduces the time it takes to download a file by splitting it into three separate, concurrent jobs. You probably won’t see any difference with small downloads, but chunky files that take forever to download should arrive faster.
By default, Google tracks the top sites you visit and displays links to them when you open a blank tab. That"s convenient if you frequently return to these same sites. But maybe you don"t want Google snooping around to see which sites you visit. In that case, you"ll want to disable the flag for Top Sites from Site Engagement so Google will no longer track you, at least not for this purpose.
Try scrolling up or down a web page using your mouse wheel or holding down the up or down arrow key on your keyboard. The movement can feel a bit rough and jerky because Chrome is making the trip one line or section at a time. A flag called Smooth Scrolling offers a smoother experience. Enable this flag, restart the browser, and then try scrolling again. You should find the experience less bumpy.
Here"s a common problem: you start reading a web page that hasn"t fully downloaded. As more content and elements are downloaded, the page keeps redrawing, causing you to lose your place. The flag called Scroll Anchor Serialization keeps track of your position on a web page and tries to prevent additional elements from interrupting you.
Each new tab you open in Chrome chews up memory. The flag for Automatic Tab Discarding detects if your system memory is getting low and removes tabs you"re not currently using from memory. Don’t worry, though. The tabs remain visible, and you can still easily access them. Simply click on any tab, and Chrome loads it back into memory.
Here"s another common problem on the web. You"re at a certain page on a website and click the Back button in the browser expecting to return to the previous page. Instead, you remain stuck at the same page and have to click Back several times to get to the prior page.
This happens because some websites sneakily put dummy entries into Chrome"s History list to keep you on the same page. Enabling a flag named New History Entries Require a User Gesture will prevent sites from inserting these dummy pages without your approval.
Lose your internet or Wi-Fi, and Chrome naturally loses the connection to all open pages. When your internet access comes back online, you may then have to reload every page you had open. The flag called Offline Auto-Reload Mode automatically reloads all the open pages when Chrome detects that you"re back online.
Surfing the web these days can be a security nightmare, from malware to ransomware. These Google Chrome extensions can help keep you safe and secure.
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Table of ContentsTable of ContentsReturn to The TopHow to Access Chrome FlagsHow to Enable a Chrome FlagThe Best Chrome Flags (And a Word of Caution)Filesystem API in IncognitoParallel DownloadingTop Sites from Site EngagementSmooth ScrollingScroll Anchor SerializationAutomatic Tab DiscardingNew History Entries Require a User GestureOffline Auto-Reload ModeThe Best Chrome Extensions for Online Safety