Skip to main content

Google Chrome is killing this feature soon — what you need to know

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

Update: Google Chrome just got a powerful upgrade for searching images — and you can try it now.

Google is going to kill off yet another product next month, having just announced that Android’s ‘Chrome Lite Mode’ is getting the chop. It joins a growing list of dead Google products, including Google Reader, Play Music, YouTube Gaming and so many more.

But, with the release of Chrome 100 for Android, due on March 29, Lite Mode is officially being discontinued. That means if you still have a slow connection, or a restrictive data cap, you may want to think about switching to a new browser.

According to Google’s own announcement, the reasoning behind killing Lite Mode is due to various changes that have happened over the past several years. That includes the “decrease in cost” of cellular data, and improvements it has made to Chrome’s data requirements and load times.

Chrome Lite Mode originally launched in 2014 as “Chrome Data Saver”, which was a very literal description. The idea being that users would automatically get served lighter versions of web pages, which had the benefit of loading faster and using less data in the process. 

The desktop version of Chrome also had a similar feature, in the form of the Data Saver extension. But that was killed off in 2019 (opens in new tab), at the same time the Android version was relaunched as Lite mode. Now that too has come to an end.

In a way it makes sense. Lite Mode was calibrated to load up the “lite” version of a web page if Chrome calculated that it would take more than five seconds to load. Presumably those situations are much less common, and would effectively make the tool redundant. 

Fortunately, Google’s announcement includes a note that it is still “committed to ensuring Chrome can deliver a fast webpage loading experience on mobile”. So even without Lite Mode, the cellular browsing experience should always be improving.

That said, if you’d prefer a different option, be sure to check out our list of the best Android browsers. Some of them, like Opera, do still offer data-saving modes that you may find helpful.

Tom Pritchard
Automotive Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.