Chrome’s Tab Page for Android now shows past search results — how to disable this annoying feature

A Google Chrome logo displayed on an Android smartphone resting on an orange and red surface
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google recently made a change to Chrome for Android which now shows your past searches alongside frequently visited sites in the browser’s New Tab Page.

While this feature has apparently been in testing for the past few months, it’s now being rolled out to all of the best Android phones much to the chagrin of many Android users — myself included.

When you open the New Tab Page in Chrome for Android, you normally see a Google Search bar with a list of your most frequently visited sites below it. This can be really handy as all the sites you use often are right there when you open a new tab which means you don’t have to go to your bookmarks.

However, with the rollout of this new feature, besides site favicons, magnifying glass icons with the text of previous searches you looked up now appear in this list as well. Even though this might be useful for some, I found that my past search queries from days and even weeks ago appeared in the New Tab Page in Chrome on my Android smartphone. 

While I thought of ditching Chrome altogether and trying out another one of the best Android browsers instead, there is a fix that you can apply right now. If you’ve been annoyed by this change like I have, it’s certainly worth doing and only takes a few minutes.

How to turn off search results in new Chrome tabs

Experimental flags in Chrome OS

(Image credit: Future)

When Google makes a change to Chrome you don’t like or even if there’s a new feature in the works you want to try out, Chrome flags can help you disable or enable them.

As discovered by 9To5Google, this annoying feature is referred to as “Organic repeatable queries in Most Visited tiles” on the Chrome flags page. While we’ll be disabling this feature in Chrome for Android, you can see all of the different ‘Experiments’ currently available from Google’s Chrome team by heading to chrome://flags in your browser on either mobile or desktop.

Screenshots showing how to disable repeatable queries in Chrome's Most Visited tiles on Android

(Image credit: Google/Tom's Guide)

To head straight to this feature in Chrome flags, enter “chrome:flags/#organic-repeatable-queries” in your browser’s address bar. By default, it will be enabled. However, just tap on Enabled and a drop down menu will appear. Go all the way to the bottom and tap on Disabled to turn it off.

Unfortunately at the moment, there’s no way to customize the New Tab Page in Chrome from within the browser but this fix will remove past search queries from showing up when you open a new tab or tap on the address bar in Chrome for Android. It’s also worth noting that you can long tap on frequently visited sites that show up on the New Tab Page to remove them entirely.

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Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home. 

  • Dave Rado
    You're a lifesaver - many thanks, Tom. I was seriously thinking of ditching Chrome until I saw your article. I hope you've made Google aware of how infuriating this "feature" is!