Chrome Reading Mode

Google has been testing a Reader Mode in Chrome for a while now, which hides page elements outside the core text. The option mysteriously disappeared in the most recent Chrome 101 update, but it’s coming back.

Firefox, Safari, and other web browsers offer a Reader Mode or simplified view, but Chrome still doesn’t officially have the same option. Chrome’s developers have been working on the feature, which is only accessible by enabling a feature flag — one of the browser’s many hidden options intended for use by web developers or people testing the latest changes in Chrome.

Chrome with Reader Mode enabled
Chrome with Reader Mode enabled

The flag required for Reader Mode vanished in the latest Chrome update, version 101, which left at least a few people confused. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like Reader Mode is being removed. Chrome flags have a built-in expiry date, which Google extends if a given feature isn’t ready yet (or isn’t ready to be removed). The flag for Reader Mode was set to expire in Chrome 100, so when Chrome 101 started to roll out, the feature was inaccessible. Google extended the flag to at least Chrome 104 back in March, but that change seemingly didn’t make it into the stable v101 release.

If you were using Reader Mode and you want it back right now, there’s just one extra step you have to go through. Follow our guide on enabling Reader Mode, but before searching for “Reader Mode,” search for “Temporarily unexpire M100 flags” and set that to ‘Enabled’ first. Once that’s done, and you allow Chrome to restart when asked, the Reader Mode flag will be available in the flags page again.

"Temporarily unexpire M100 flags" option

The other option is to install Chrome Beta, which is currently on Chrome 102 and has the Reader Mode flag accessible without any extra steps required. Chrome 102 will roll out in the stable branch at the end of May. It’s still not clear when, or if, Google will roll out Reader Mode to everyone without the need for enabling feature flags.

Profile Photo for Corbin Davenport Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
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