Chrome for Android is getting a Download Later feature — here’s how to get it

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Not interested in downloading a particular file or set of files in Chrome on your Android device right this minute? Just schedule that download for another time, courtesy of a new "download later" feature coming to the best Android browser in the very near future.

This handy new option will allow you to choose the exact time and date for your files to begin downloading on your Android phone. According to TechDows, you'll also be able to specify when your download should begin based on whether or not you're connected to a Wi-Fi network so you don't use up precious data. 

So, what's the catch? The feature isn't officially available right now. You can, however, do a bit of finagling to get it to work right away via the latest version of Chrome Canary, which is available from Google Play. Just don't expect that feature to be completely flawless the first time you give it a whirl, as that’s a very early version of Chrome designed to test out new features.

Ready to give it a shot anyway? Here's how you can go about it. 

Launch Chrome Canary on your Android phone, and type in "chrome://flags" in your address bar. Type in "enable download later" and then look for the flag name to pop up. Click on the box that says "Default" and tap it so that it's changed to "Enabled."

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

You'll need to restart your browser from here. Click "Relaunch" to do this automatically. When your browser relaunches, your new feature should be enabled. You can follow this process for additional flags in Chrome as well, should there be experimental changes you want to test out. 

Once the new download later feature is live, don't get too frustrated if it doesn't work here and there. True, the interface itself is live and can be used, but it appears to be a bit spotty at present. The full range of options that you'll be able to expect from the final version isn't quite available yet, either. You'll be able to select the exact area your downloads will eventually be filed in as well to keep from cluttering up your device. 

The plan is to add a "scheduled for later" tab to your browser when the new download feature has officially gone live as well. Unfortunately, there's no word on when the next stable Chrome for Android build will make its debut, but this is certainly one reason to start counting down the days until it's been released.

The Android Chrome browser is also expected to introduce another useful feature with the full release of Chrome 86 in the form of LiteVideos. It should help further optimize media streams for users to make Chrome less of a resource hog in general. It seems Google is hard at work on a variety of interesting features for the next complete iteration of Chrome, in fact. We'll have to wait patiently and see what's coming down the pipeline over the next few weeks.  

Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over 13 years for publications including Tom's Guide, MTV, Rolling Stone, CNN, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She's also appeared as a panelist at video game conventions like PAX East and PAX West and has coordinated social media for companies like CNET. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.