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10 Tips for Browsing With Chrome on Android, iPhone, and iPad

chrome-android-phone-tips-and-tricks

Chrome is a powerful browser, whether you’re using a desktop PC, smartphone, or tablet. These tips will help you browse faster and take advantage of Chrome’s features on the go.

You can grab Chrome for Android from Google Play if it didn’t come with your device. Chrome is available for iPhone and iPad in Apple’s App Store.

Swipe Between Tabs

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Chrome offers swipe gestures for quickly switching between open tabs. These gestures only work on the Android phone, iPhone, and iPad versions of Chrome, not the Android tablet version.

On an Android phone, place your finger anywhere on Chrome’s toolbar and swipe to the left or right.

On iPhone or iPad, place your finger at the edge of the screen and swipe inwards to move between open tabs. This feature takes the place of the “swipe to go back or forwards” gesture in Safari on iOS.

swipe-to-switch-tabs-in-chrome-for-smartphone

Use the Tab List – Phones Only

On a phone, touch Chrome’s tab button to view all your open tabs. Tap a tab to switch to it, tap the X button to close a tab, or place your finger on an open tab and swipe to the left or right to close it.  You can quickly close all open tabs by selecting the Close all tabs option in the menu.

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Double Tap to Smart Zoom

Chrome has a “smart zoom” feature that allows you to double-tap anywhere on a web page and zoom in. For example, if you’re viewing a desktop website and the main content column is tiny, double-tap on it and Chrome will intelligently zoom in to that part of the page. The column you double-tapped will take up the entire width of your display.

Note that this feature will only work on sites designed for desktop browsers. Google disabled the smart zoom feature on mobile-optimized websites to speed things up. Of course, standard pinch-to-zoom gestures also work in Chrome.

double-tap-smart-zoom-in-mobile-chro[2]

Quickly Select a Menu Option – Android Only

When using a menu in most Android applications, you’d tap the menu button, wait for the menu to appear, and then tap the menu option you want to select. Chrome offers a faster method. Touch the menu button, move your finger downwards until it’s over a menu option, and then lift your finger from the screen. This allows you to select a menu option in a single motion.

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Google Voice Search

You can get easy access to Google Voice Search from anywhere in Chrome. On a tablet, just tap the microphone icon in the address bar. On a phone, tap the address bar, tap the X, and then tap the microphone icon that appears. You can speak a search, say a website address, or ask a question from here.

google-voice-search-in-chrome-for-smartphone-or-tablet

Request Desktop Site

To request the desktop version of a website in Chrome, tap the menu button and select Request Desktop Site. Chrome will pretend to be a desktop browser.

request-desktop-site-in-smartphone-chrome-app

Open Tab and Browser Data Sync

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Chrome syncs your open tabs and other browser data between your devices when you log in with a Google account. This is particularly useful if you use Chrome on your laptop, smartphone, and tablet — you’ll always see your open tabs on your other devices so you can easily pick up where you left off. To view your open tabs, either visit Chrome’s new tab page and tap the Other Devices option at the bottom-right corner of the page or tap the menu button and select Other devices.

chrome-view-synced-open-tabs

Enable Preloading and Bandwidth Reductions

Chrome can save time and bandwidth with its preloading and bandwidth-reducing features. Preloading is on by default and makes Chrome automatically fetch the web page it thinks you will load next. For example, if you’re reading a five-page article on you get to the end of the second page, Chrome will fetch the third page before you tap the link, so the page will load much faster when you do. By default, this feature is only enabled on Wi-Fi to avoid wasting precious mobile data.

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If you enable the Reduce Data Usage feature, web pages you load will be routed through Google’s servers and compressed before they reach you. This will reduce your bandwidth usage — something that’s important if you have a limited amount of mobile data you want to conserve.

To configure these features, tap the menu button, tap Settings, and select Bandwidth management on Android or Bandwidth on iPhone or iPad.

chrome-mobile-bandwidth-features

Google Cloud Print

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Chrome is integrated with Google Cloud Print on all platforms. Tap the menu button and tap Print to print to any of your Google Cloud Print-enabled printers. if you don’t have a printer that supports this feature, you can install Chrome on a desktop computer and make any printer accessible over Google Cloud Print.

On iPhone and iPad, Chrome also supports Apple’s AirPrint — but Google Cloud Print allows you to make any printer accessible from your smartphone or tablet.

google-cloud-print-in-google-chrome-mobile

Flags

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The desktop version of Chrome contains hidden experimental features, as does the Android version. Type chrome://flags into Chrome’s address bar to access these features. You’ll find more new features in Chrome Beta for Android, and you can find more hidden Chrome pages by typing chrome://chrome-urls into your address bar.

Note that this feature is unavailable on iPhone and iPad. Chrome is essentially just a different interface for Safari on these platforms.

You shouldn’t change any of these settings unless you know what you’re doing.

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If you’re using Chrome on a jailbroken iPhone or iPad, you can use third-party software to make Chrome your default browser and enable the speedy Nitro JavaScript engine reserved only for Safari.

Image Credit: Kārlis Dambrāns on Flickr (edited)

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 03/27/14

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