12 Chrome Flags to Boost Your Browsing

These are the best Chrome Flags you should enable right now to boost your browser performances.

Chrome Flags come and go at a rapid rate, with some becoming fully-fledged browser features while others disappear forever. These features have been aptly renamed to “Experiments” by Google because they let you enable, disable and customize various features that are yet to make it into the mainline Chrome release.

Some Chrome flags are semi-functional, others are obscure things designed for the highly tech-savvy, while there are some that don’t really do much at all. So we’ve sifted through the crowd and picked out the Chrome flags that will actually have a big and positive impact on your browsing experience.

Note: we update this list regularly to ensure that the flags we list are still available, but sometimes an outdated flag may slip through the net. If that happens, then let us know in the comments, and we’ll remove it.

How to Access Chrome Flags

Before you use any of these Chrome flags, you first need to know how to access them. Type chrome://flags in the Chrome address bar and hit Enter. You will see a big list of Chrome Flags with a warning that these features are not stable.

chrome-flags-how-to-access

You can use Chrome’s “Find” (Ctrl + F) feature to quickly find the features we have listed below.

1. Edit Passwords in Settings

This is a really good one, especially when combined with Chrome’s super-helpful warning if one or more of your passwords have been caught up in a known data breach on a given site.

Generally, if you update your password on a site, Chrome will ask if you want to save it, but if you have a whole bunch of passwords that need changing, then you can change them all in your Chrome settings (ideally using a password manager/generator like LastPass), then apply those passwords when you visit the sites.

In Chrome Flags, just enabled the flag called “edit passwords in settings.”

2. Disable Reading List

Some of you may be hearing about the reading list for the first time here, in which case you may want to try it! Simply right-click a tab and you can add it to a “reading list” for reading later. However, others complain that the reading list forces an extra click whenever you bookmark a web page. And I personally just have a reading list bookmark folder so don’t really need the feature.

If you want to disable the reading list, look for the chrome flag “read later” and switch it from “Default” to “Disabled”.

3. Disable System Notifications

There are two types of notifications that Chrome can send to your PC – some are native within Chrome, and will only appear when Chrome is running, others link to your OS, and will appear within the OS UI.

A lot of people find these notifications annoying, so you may want to disable them in Chrome Flags.

In the Flags search box, type “system notifications”, then when it appears, set “Enable system notifications” to “Disabled”. No more interruptions!

4. Quiet Permission Chip

Make no mistake, the permissions notification in browsers is super-important, asking you whether you’re happy for a given site to have access to your location, microphone, and whatever else.

But the notification in Chrome has always been a bit ugly and intrusive. This flag addresses that issue by integrating the permissions box into the search bar. It’s nice and clear, with a bright blue background, so there’s no chance you’ll miss it, while not taking up your browsing screen space.

To enable this flag, type “quiet permission” into the Flags search bar, and enable the Quiet Permission Chip Experiment.

5. Force Dark Mode

Dark mode is the thing that everyone’s after right now, making your screen much less strenuous on the eyes when you use it in the evenings or in a dark environment. You can make window borders darker using your OS settings, but to actually make entire web pages dark, you’ll need to enable this flag.

Find “force dark mode” in Chrome flags, then click the drop-down menu next to it.

You’ll see that you have many different variants of dark mode that you can choose. You can experiment with these different Dark Mode variants to see which works best or just select “Enabled” for the default option.

6. Reader Mode

While Microsoft’s twist on a Chromium-based browser now includes a reader mode clickable from the URL bar, Google Chrome is yet to have it as a default feature. However, a quick tweak in Chrome Flags, and you can add an “Immersive Reader” mode to your omnibox.

Find “reader mode” in Flags, enable it, and an icon will appear in your address bar. Click it to turn that page into immersive reader mode. You can then click the “A” icon at the top of the page to change your reader settings.

7. GPU Rasterization

Chrome doesn’t rely too much on your GPU to process images and data, but if you have a dedicated GPU, then there are a few things you can do to offload some of the processing onto it, speeding up the browser.

Rasterization is the process Chrome uses to organize website data into the pixels and tangible information you end up seeing on the screen in front of you. It does this by organizing each page into “Tiles,” at which point it effectively paints in the information in each one to add up to the whole you see in front of you.

Enabling “GPU rasterization” gets your GPU to always do the above process instead of your CPU (or processor). This can make browsing faster if your CPU isn’t particularly powerful or, conversely, if your GPU is very powerful.

8. Zero-Copy Rasterization (Desktop/Android)

There are a few things you can do with rasterization through Chrome flags, but one of the best is zero-copy rasterization, where writers raster streams straight to your GPU memory (or VRAM), which can work faster than using your regular RAM (particularly if you have 4GB or less RAM on your PC).

This can be particularly helpful on mobile devices, with the potential to reduce battery usage when you browse the Web.

9. Chrome Duet (Android)

On Android, Google has been experimenting with a “Duet” interface for a few years now, which places most of the options like tabs, search, home, and the options menu at the bottom of the screen instead of the top.

This feature’s not for everyone, but if you want to try it, search for “Chrome Duet” in Chrome flags.

Here’s the strange thing: setting Chrome Duet to “Disabled” actually seems to enable it for us, while setting it to “Enabled” disables it. So if it doesn’t work, try doing the reverse of what you think you should do!

These are just some of the Chrome flags that will enhance your browsing experience. Although there are dozens of other flags to try, we do not recommend you mess with them unless you know exactly what you are doing.

10. Enable Parallel Downloading

There are several features of Chrome Flags that can speed up your browsing, many of which are enabled by default. One such feature, which specifically speeds up your downloads, is “Parallel downloading,” which splits each file you download into three separate jobs, speeding up the whole process.

To enable it in Chrome flags, type “parallel downloading”, click “Default” when it appears in the list, then click “Enable.”

11. Enable Smooth Scrolling

As the name suggests, this lets you smoothly scroll through the content. When you scroll in Chrome using your mouse or the arrow keys, there is a little stuttering in the animation. This makes it hard to quickly go through content and easily read what is important at the same time (bad for content skimmers). With this option enabled, smooth scrolling just feels right and professional.

Just search for “Smooth Scrolling” or type chrome://flags/#smooth-scrolling into the address bar to access it directly. Enable it using the drop-down menu below it.

12. Enable Experimental QUIC Protocol

QUIC protocol is a new connection protocol created by Google that is still under development. QUIC is supposed to be a mixture of TCP and UDP protocols that is much faster and more secure at the same time. Usually, when we are on a TCP or UDP connection, it takes multiple trips to the server before a connection is stable (which takes time) and ready to exchange data. QUIC protocol’s main goal is to only make a single trip to create a connection and start the data exchange process, thus increasing the overall browsing and data exchange speed.

In Chrome, you can enable QUIC protocol to start taking advantage of this protocol right now and speed up browsing. Look for the flag “Experimental QUIC protocol” or type chrome://flags/#enable-quic to access it directly. Use the drop-down menu below it to enable it.

For more Chrome tips, see how to get vertical tabs on Chrome (and Firefox) and how to enable and disable the print preview feature.

Robert Zak

Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.

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