How to set Chrome flags

An image of the Google Chrome logo on a smartphone, representing an article about how to set Chrome flags
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Learning how to set Chrome Flags will enable you to use loads of hidden, experimental features that the standard Chrome experience just doesn’t have.

Admittedly, many of these features aren’t much use to the everyday user, often being designed to solve very specific issues, or for power users to bend Chrome to their will. Some of them will even likely break your browser, as they’re essentially add-ons or extensions that are in beta (or even alpha) testing. Some of them can be super useful, though: being able to for dark mode on every website, for example.

Due to Chrome’s ubiquitous nature, it’s possible to enable Chrome flags on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. You just need the Chrome browser and a little bit of bravery.

Before you learn how to set flags in Chrome, it’s worth us once again reiterating that these are meant for testing purposes. That means they could break your browser. It’s easy to reset everything and, in the worst case scenario, you could reinstall Chrome. But our advice when learning how to set Chrome flags would be to not set any flags you’re unsure about.

With that all out of the way, here’s how to set Chrome flags.

How to set Chrome flags

On a Chromebook, PC, Mac, iOS or Android device:

  1. Open the Chrome browser
  2. Enter chrome://flags/ into the address bar
  3. Select or search for the flags you want to enable
  4. Click or tap on the flag
  5. Select Enabled
  6. Select Relaunch

Read on to see detailed instructions for each step.

Note: although the screenshots shown below are taken on a Windows PC, the steps to set Chrome flags should look more or less the same on any of the devices mentioned in Step 1.

1. Go to chrome://flags/

(Image: © Future)

If you're using Chrome on a Chromebook, Windows PC, Mac, iOS, or Android device, open your Chrome browser. Next, enter chrome://flags/ into the address bar at the top to enable flags in Chrome. Hit enter.

2. Find a flag you want

(Image: © Future)

You'll now see a rather long list of every Chrome flag. Scroll through and find any you want to enable. Alternatively, search for specific flags using the search box at the top of the page.

3. Enable via the dropdown

(Image: © Future)

To enable or disable flags, simply click/tap the drop-down menu and click/tap Enabled or Disabled. Finally, click/tap Relaunch to restart Chrome and apply the changes.

How to disable Chrome flags

Given their advanced nature, it's easy to enable a flag that can cause unwanted results, such as webpages not rendering correctly. Fortunately, it's also easy to disable any previously set Chrome flags, putting everything back to default. Here's how to reset any Chrome flags.

1. Go to chrome://flags/ and select Reset all

(Image: © Future)

Enter chrome://flags/ into the address bar and hit Enter. Next, click/tap Reset all in the top-right, then click/tap Relaunch. Chrome will now restart with all flags set to their default value.

Which Chrome flags to enable/disable: Tom's Guide best picks

Since there are so many Chrome flags, it's difficult to say which ones you should enable or disable. However, here are three handy ones we'd suggest you check out if you don't have the patience to scroll through the hundreds that are available.

1. Faster downloads using Parallel Downloading

This flag effectively works as a download booster for large downloads, and works across all platforms. It forces Chrome to break downloads into three smaller "jobs," before combining them into one file when the downloads are complete.

1. To get faster downloads on Chrome, search "Parallel Downloading" in the flag search bar. Click/tap Enabled next to the flag, then click/tap Relaunch.

(Image credit: Future)

2. Dark mode on every website

This flag forces pages to render in dark mode, and works great on most websites. If you notice some websites look a bit janky, though, it's easy to disable this flag and go back to default.

1. To enable dark mode on every website with Chrome, search "Auto Dark Mode for Web Contents" in the flag search bar. Click/tap Enabled next to the flag, then click/tap Relaunch.

(Image credit: Future)

3. Touch-friendly UI on Windows

This gives Chrome a more touch-friendly UI, including a bigger search bar, which is great if you're rocking a touchscreen PC such as the Microsoft Surface Pro 8.

If you want to make Chrome on your touch-enabled PC more user friendly, search "Touch UI Layout" in the flag search bar. Click Enabled next to the flag, then Relaunch.

(Image credit: Future)

Now you know how to enable flags in Chrome, you may want to check out some other Chrome guides, such as how to block ads on Chrome, how to install Chrome extensions, how to lock incognito tabs on Chrome mobile and how to block a website on Chrome. Of course, you'll also want to set a custom splash page for every time you open Chrome, so discover how to set a homepage in Google Chrome. If you're up for a little light gaming on your break, learn how to hack the Chrome dinosaur game. We also have plenty of other computing guides, so why not get started with how to open HEIC files on Windows. Want to find out where the image came from? Learn how to do a reverse image search using Google. Fancy talking to nobody? Learn how to use ChatGPT.

On top of our helpful tutorials, we also have a range of buying guides, crafted by product experts to help you make the right purchase. If you're looking to make a tech purchase soon, make sure you check out our guides to the best phones, best laptops and best tablets.

Dale Fox
Freelance Journalist

Dale Fox is a freelance journalist based in the UK. He's been a tech nerd ever since childhood, when he used the money from his first job as a paperboy to buy a subscription to GamesMaster magazine. Dale was previously a presenter and editor in China, where he also worked as a copywriter for OnePlus at its Shenzhen HQ.