Chrome on Android just got a major multitasking upgrade

Chrome app on Android phone
(Image credit: Future)

Google Chrome users on Android should soon be getting a useful upgrade to the browser. The “Instance Switcher” feature looks to be coming out of Beta and into the regular version of Chrome. This allows users to have multiple Chrome windows at once, which could offer a productivity boost to those who use it. 

Having multiple tabs open at once is common practice for all of the best Android browsers but Chrome’s Instance Switcher goes beyond that. It allows entirely new windows on the mobile version, in a desktop style, each with its own tabs. According to ChromeUnboxed the feature was added to the Chrome beta last year but it is only now beginning to become available to regular users. 

Chrome Instance Switcher feature on Android

(Image credit: ChromeUnboxed)

There has been no official announcement from Google, and ChromeUnboxed clarifies that the update “could just be a server-side rollout” but they have managed to find the new feature simply by tapping the three dots menu on Chrome and then selecting “Manage Windows”.

This could be great for those working from home, who can have one ‘work’ window and one ‘home’ window open together, or for those cross-referencing when researching. The ability to watch a YouTube video while also reading around the subject could be especially useful as well. 

This tool will allow users to run two versions of Chrome simultaneously and interact with both at the same time via split-screen or place one instance over the other. Split-screen may be a bit small on some phones but on the best Android tablets this could be a useful feature. Safari on iPad has had a similar feature for some time with the “open new window” button. 

Even as a market leader it is good to see Google not resting on its laurels and adding new time-saving features to Chrome on mobile and desktop like the pinned tabs and the secondary search window added in late 2022. This new feature may not reinvent the wheel but it could certainly be very handy.  

Andy Sansom
Trainee Writer

Andy is Tom’s Guide’s Trainee Writer, which means that he currently writes about pretty much everything we cover. He has previously worked in copywriting and content writing both freelance and for a leading business magazine. His interests include gaming, music and sports- particularly Formula One, football and badminton. Andy’s degree is in Creative Writing and he enjoys writing his own screenplays and submitting them to competitions in an attempt to justify three years of studying.