Chrome for Android is a pretty decent web browser, especially when used on an Android platform itself. Its fast, clean and plays nice with your phone. However unlike it’s bigger brother desktop version, the mobile browser doesn’t allow plugins, but despite this it still has some little hidden gems you can play with that developers left behind for those in the know! Quick warning here, just be aware that Chrome flags are experimental and as such they can be a little bit temperamental and can make your phone behave oddly.
Put simply Chrome flags are a whole bunch of hidden settings that you can access by entering “chrome://flags/”. These are mostly experimental settings and when you go to the flag page you’ll see a fair warning message at the top of the page. However due to the sand boxed nature of Chrome on Android, if you do run into trouble then a clear of the app data in app manager should do the trick.
Each flag is then shown below, identified by its #tag. You can enter this hash tag in the address of the page we mentioned above to go directly to it, which is useful as this is a fairly large and complicated page to browse through. So browsing to ‘chrome://flags/#reader-mode-heuristics‘ will take you directly to that reader setting.
Each flag has a set of compatibility settings, so it’ll tell you if it works on your particular version of chrome or the OS you are running Chrome on top of.
Another note is that some of the settings can produce an annoying pop-up. This is because these are essentially beta, experimental settings and the popups are there to remind developers of just that.
Some flag settings I don;t fully understand, some are really buggy but some are little nuggets of gold so go explore and play!!
I’ve listed some of my favourites below:
Reader mode – ‘chrome://flags/#reader-mode-heuristics‘
Strips annoying links and ads out of the page leaving it more readable, just like Safari on IOS.
FPS counter – #show-fps-counter
OK, so not all of us are gamers, but its fun to see how much frame rate on your phone is being used when browsing web pages.
Password generation – #enable-password-generation
If you want Google to set your passwords for you then this is the flag to use!
Show auto-fill predictions – #show-autofill-type-predictions
Does what it says on the can, sets the auto fill on/off.
Enhanced bookmarks – #enhanced-bookmarks-experiment
Turns off the latest bookmark manager, which I know a lot of you don’t like at all!
So go play and see what works for you!