Android Browsers

7 Chrome for Android Settings to Improve Your Browser

Mihir Patkar 20-07-2016

Most Android devices come preloaded with Google Chrome. It’s a good thing too, since Chrome is the fastest Android browser What's the Fastest Android Browser? 7 Top Apps Ranked With so many Android browsers available, which are the fastest? Here are the best browser apps on Android. Read More and Custom Tabs make it a lightweight browser This is How Google is Fixing Chrome's Memory Problems and Discarding Tabs Google Chrome is just so slow and annoying. Right? Google is now rolling out major changes to the browser that fix memory problems and actively discards unused tabs. Read More for opening links from third-party apps.


Unlike its desktop counterpart, mobile Chrome doesn’t have extensions to make it better than what it is. But you’d be surprised to find that there are plenty of built-in features that can already make it better.

Change Font to Your Preferred Size

Everyone’s eyesight is different. The Internet is largely about reading text, and you want a clear, legible experience. Chrome has a setting that lets you set how big the font on any web page will look, so that you’ll always be able to read it without straining your eyes.

Go to Menu > Settings > Accessibility, where you will find this Text scaling option:


As the instructions say, just drag the slider around so that the text is how big you want it to be. Chrome will now apply this setting across all sites, making their text bigger so it’s right for your eyes. It’s yet another way to make Android phones easier for the elderly Larger Icons and Keyboards for a Phone Mom Would Love: Android Can Make the Elderly Tech Savvy The elderly often feel intimidated by new technology. Smartphones in particular did not catch on among the retired compared to the Facebook generation. And for good reason: Tiny screens and keyboards seem designed for addicting... Read More .


Enable Zoom Anywhere

Many mobile sites disable the ability to zoom in, especially on images. It can be a little annoying at times. If you can do it on the desktop, why not on mobile? Well, one hidden setting enables this too.


Go to Menu > Settings > Accessibility and check the box next to Force Enable Zoom.

Now you can magnify whatever page you are viewing, whether it inherently supports that or not. As with all smartphones, use the simple pinching gesture with two fingers to zoom in and out.


Speed Up Chrome, Reduce Data

One of the many ways to reduce data usage on Android 4 Ways to Reduce Your Mobile Internet Data Usage with Android Apps You can reduce your mobile data usage without doing anything differently on your Android device -- just use these apps! Read More is through Chrome’s built-in Data Saver tech. What many don’t know, though, is that this feature also makes Internet browsing faster.

Go to Menu > Settings > Data Saver and turn the switch on.


This technology basically puts a Google server between the site you are accessing and your Android device. So the site sends its data to the Google server where Google crunches it down and then sends it to your phone. It’s all instant and actually faster.


You see, Google’s data compression makes smart choices like converting all images into the WebP file format that is lighter than others Introducing Google's WebP, A Faster Web Alternative To JPEG Google has taken it upon themselves to make the Web faster. Read More . It also minimizes resources the page needs, like Javascript or CSS, and eliminates some bad coding to make the page more efficient. Here’s a full explanation for more details. The end result is that the page loads faster for you, while saving you data too.

Quick Lookup with Built-in Search Pane

When you’re reading something on the web and come across a word or phrase you don’t know, what do you do? Select and copy it, open a new tab, paste it, search, see the result, go back to your article. Or maybe you’ll look it up on Merriam-Webster’s dictionary app Merriam Webster: An Excellent Free Dictionary for Offline Use Our phones contain all sorts of useful apps, and one of the best reference tools you can have is a dictionary. Here's why Webster's app deserves a spot on your device. Read More . Chrome tries to make this process shorter with “Touch to Search”.


With this feature, you can tap any word and Google will instantly search for it. A small bar at the bottom of your page shows this search. Drag the bar up halfway to see the results, which is usually enough if you want to check a definition or see a photo of the term. You can browse within this small pane, or even make the pane larger if you want, but that’s probably more than what you need. For a quick lookup, Touch to Search is perfect.


To enable it, go to Menu > Settings > Privacy > Touch to Search and switch it on.

Swipe Address Bar to Switch Tabs

This is one of those tricks that a surprising number of people aren’t aware of but are delighted when they see it in action. It will revolutionize how you use Chrome.

Let’s say you have several tabs open and you want to go to the previous one. You’d normally press the tabs button, flick through them, and tap the right tab. Instead, Chrome has built-in gesture support to flick through tabs directly.


When you’re looking at any page and want to go to the previous tab, just swipe right on the address bar. When you want to go to the next tab, swipe left on the address bar.

It’s the simplest trick, but it has a huge impact on how you go about your daily browsing on Chrome.

Reduce Menu Taps

Much like the above gesture trick, you can also reduce the number of times you tap when opening a new tab or incognito tab (which is useful for more than just porn) 4 Uses for Browsing in Privacy Mode (That Isn't Porn) Read More . Again, it’s a small trick, but the more you use it, the faster you will get at performing tasks with Chrome. Think of these gestures as the equivalent of knowing keyboard shortcuts on your desktop.


When you tap the Menu button, don’t lift your finger. Instead, keeping it pressed, just drag it down to the option you want—like opening a new incognito tab. Release it on that option to perform the intended task. Simple, right?

Once your muscle memory for these tasks builds up, you’ll notice a remarkable increase in how quickly you browse the web.

Browse Your Local Files

As a MakeUseOf reader, we know you probably have one of the best free Android file managers The 7 Best Free File Explorers for Android Looking for the best file manager apps for Android? Here are the top Android file browsers you should try. Read More already installed on your device. But when someone asks you for help with their phone, they might not have an explorer. Well, Chrome can work as one.


Just type “file:///sdcard” (without the quotes) in the address bar and tap Go or Enter on the keyboard to open a simple explorer window of all your folders and files. It’s a nice, no-install solution to finding something on the phone. One caveat though: You can’t install locally stored APKs How to Manually Install or Sideload Apps on Android Want to sideload apps on your Android phone? Installing APKs manually on Android opens up a whole new world of apps, and it's easy to do. Read More through this.

Share a Cool Chrome Trick

Of all these, I believe everyone should enable Touch to Search and start using gestures, since it will drastically change how you use Chrome and make your browsing a lot faster. We’ve also got a list of essential Chrome for Android flags 5 Hidden Chrome for Android Tweaks That You Need to Try Once you activate these flags in Chrome, your browsing experience is going to be so much better. Read More to improve the browser in different ways.

Do you have a cool Chrome trick that makes the browser better? What do you think about the above tricks? Share with us in the comments!

Related topics: Android Customization, Google Chrome.

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  1. Prateek Sharma
    June 24, 2018 at 6:56 am

    Can we use Google chrome to access free internet where internet connection is not available?

  2. Prateek Sharma
    June 24, 2018 at 6:55 am

    Can we use Google chrome to surf free internet on Google chrome on Android.

  3. carmicheals
    July 23, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    The only problem with Data Saver is that it overrides adblocking. If you are running an adblocker (AdAway) or an adblocking VPN, Data Saver lets ads through.

    • ronl2k
      November 6, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      I haven't found that to be the case. I have AdAway installed on my rooted phone and can browse Chrome without ads while Data Saver is enabled.

  4. Kelsey Tidwell
    October 5, 2016 at 2:44 am

    Dang it, Mihir! I've been really enjoying Opera Beta on my Android, and now you've forced me to reinstall Chrome Dev! :D

    Seriously, I believe I remember the tab switching swipe-o-the-address bar thing, but I've never even tried it. Going to see how that feels.

    I'm shaky about lowering my privacy and anonymity standards by switching back to Chrome for day-to-day use, but I feel good about pairing it with the Opera VPN app and using StartPage, as per routine. Now...let's play...

  5. Wolfium
    July 21, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    You can also drag down the title bar to quickly show current opened tabs for direct access to any non adjacent tab directly.

    • Amber Egbert
      June 24, 2017 at 12:06 am