Best Chrome Flags to Enable for Better Navigation.

Before some features are released in Google Chrome, they are often added as optional settings that are hidden behind “flags” that you can enable to get a sneak peek. These are some of the best flags for better navigation.

These flags were tested in Chrome 78 in November 2019. Even if you’re using a newer version of Chrome, many of them will likely still work the same.

Best Chrome Flags to Enable for Better Navigation

How to enable a Chrome flag

Before you start clicking and activating all the available flags, remember that most of these features are not finished. As a result, these flags can cause your browser or computer to become unstable, and the more flags you change, the greater the chance of this happening.

We’re not trying to scare you away from trying things, of course, but you should keep your expectations in check.

Best Chrome Flags to Enable for Better Navigation

Also, keep in mind that Google can remove any of these features at any time, so it’s best not to get too attached. There is a chance that any particular flag will simply disappear after the next update. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen.

If you’re still interested in seeing what’s going on behind the scenes, open a new Chrome browser tab and type the following into your Omnibox (address bar):

Best Chrome Flags to Enable for Better Navigation


Press the Enter key to open the flags page where you’ll find all sorts of glorious goodies. Each flag has details about the operating systems it works on: Chrome for Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, or all of those. Be sure to pay attention to that: some indicators are only for other operating systems and may not work on your current operating system.

Best Chrome Flags to Enable for Better Navigation

When you find a flag you want, click the dropdown menu and select “Enable” to apply it to Chrome.

After enabling a flag, you’ll need to restart Chrome using the little blue button that appears at the bottom of the page.

You can apply multiple flags at once and then restart the browser when you’re done. We recommend enabling one at a time and testing them, in case you encounter an issue with two flags not getting along.

Best Chrome Flags to Enable for Better Navigation

Now that we’ve covered how to enable a Chrome flag, let’s look at the best Chrome flags for better browsing.

Group tabs together

We’re all guilty of having too many tabs open at once, but sometimes it’s hard to tell one tab from another. Well, this tab grouping banner is about to make things a little easier for all you tab hoarders out there.

With this flag, you can compact all your open tabs into neatly organized groups without having to close a group or download an extension. Group tabs together, label them accordingly, and color code groups for easy identification.

Best Chrome Flags to Enable for Better Navigation

Copy and paste the following link into the omnibox and press the enter key to go directly to the flag:


If this flag isn’t enough for you, we’ve put together a list of the best Chrome extensions for managing tabs.

Use Chrome’s hidden reader mode

Google Chrome is one of the last browsers to have a built-in reading mode, despite years of experimenting with the desktop version of Chrome. However, you can enable it via a hidden flag instead of a previously required command line option.

Best Chrome Flags to Enable for Better Navigation

Now, whenever you want to read an article without all the distractions, ads, and extra junk that comes with it, you can reduce the web page to a bare minimum, making it easier to read.

Paste the following link into the Omnibox and press the Enter key to go directly to the banner:


Best Chrome Flags to Enable for Better Navigation

While this should get you started, we’ve got a deeper dive into Chrome’s hidden reader mode if you’d like more information.

Remove Chrome Toolbar Extensions

Do you have Chrome extensions taking over your toolbar and menu? Google is working on a fix for the mess that comes with installing all the extensions. The new Extensions menu hides extensions in a combo icon on the toolbar.

While this extension will likely be enabled by default in the future, you can try it out today when you enable the flag. You can copy and paste this text into the omnibox and hit Enter to enable the flag:


Force dark mode everywhere

You can enable dark mode for your Chrome browser, but most websites won’t obey it. Web developers can code their websites to automatically go into dark mode along with the rest of their operating system, but very few do.

There is a brute force solution in Chrome flags. Enable “Force dark mode for web content” and Chrome will force a dark theme on websites you load, turning white backgrounds dark and dark text light. It’s not perfect and it’s not as nice and bright as a dark mode coded by the developers on that website, but it’s not bad at all, and you can select various options to adjust it.

Copy and paste this text into Chrome’s omnibox and press Enter to find the flag:


Best Chrome Flags to Enable for Better Navigation

Update: This flag appears to cause serious problems in Chrome OS starting with Chrome 78. Do not enable it on a Chromebook or you will have to reset Chrome OS afterwards.

Get a play/pause button for music and videos

Many of us listen to music and watch videos on the web, but finding the tab where media is playing can be a chore, especially if you’re in another browser window. Chrome’s little speaker indicator in the tabs helps a bit, but the hidden play/pause button is even better.

The Play/Pause button will allow you to quickly control web media playback and see the name of what’s playing from the Chrome toolbar.

To find this flag, copy and paste the following text into Chrome’s omnibox and press Enter:

Best Chrome Flags to Enable for Better Navigation


scroll smoother

This flag allows for smoother scrolling when viewing content on the Internet with the mouse and keyboard. It uses a smoother scroll animation when viewing content on a web page, whereas the default scroll in Chrome seems to jerky or stutter on much longer pages at best.

Copy and paste the following link into the omnibox and press the enter key to go directly to the flag:


After enabling the flag and restarting Chrome, longer pages that used to make noise as you scroll up or down flow more smoothly.

Browse faster with the QUIC protocol

The QUIC (HTTP/3) protocol, designed by Google, is a faster way for web browsers and web servers to communicate and send information to each other. While QUIC is already enabled in Opera and Chrome Canary, with this flag hidden, you can start using it on the stable channel immediately before release. Of course, this will only speed up browsing if you’re accessing a website hosted on a QUIC-enabled server.

To take advantage of HTTP/3 now, copy and paste the following link into the omnibox, press the enter key, and enable the flag:


Enable a temporary file system for incognito browsing

Some websites block content for anyone using incognito mode, which can be frustrating when you’re trying to visit their website.

With the filesystem API in incognito prompt, it creates a temporary filesystem in memory, which is usually disabled in incognito mode. This makes websites think that you are using a regular instance of Chrome, unlocking the content. Once the window is closed, if anything was saved during your session, it will be deleted immediately.

To prevent websites from polling your browser to see if you’re using incognito, copy and paste the URL into the omnibox, press the Enter key, and then enable the file system API in the incognito flag:


While many of these Chrome flags are still in development, be careful when enabling multiple flags at the same time. As we mentioned earlier, sometimes flags are not tested to work with each other and could misbehave unexpectedly. Enjoy these browser-enhancing banners with caution.