The 8 Best Chrome Flags of 2020

Customize your Chrome browser with some experimental features

Chrome Flags are experimental settings within Google Chrome you can enable to improve your browsing experience. There are flags to help you save on memory, speed up file downloads, use faster internet protocols, and more. Here's a rundown of the best Chrome flags you can start using immediately.

How to Access Chrome Flags

Accessing your Chrome flag settings is easy. Just type "chrome://flags" into the address bar, and press Enter. This will open the Chrome flags window, where you can view all available flags, as well as enable or disable individual flags.

Chrome flags may be buggy and cause your browser to behave in unexpected ways. If you run into problems, you can always disable a flag, or select Reset all to default at the top of the chrome://flags page to reset all flags to their default settings.

01
of 08

Best for Fast Downloads: Parallel Downloading

Downloading conceptual image

 Yuri_Arcurs/Getty Images

What We Like
  • Increases download speeds for all types of files

What We Don't Like
  • No negatives we can see

Don't like waiting for software, music, or movies to download? Parallel Downloading is a nifty flag that can significantly decrease your file download times. It accomplishes this by splitting up the task of downloading files into parallel jobs that run at the same time. You won't see the jobs running separately, but you should see your download times improve.

02
of 08

Best for Fast Browsing: Experimental QUIC Protocol

Networking conceptual image

bymuratdeniz/Getty images 

What We Like
  • Webpages do seem to load faster when enabled

What We Don't Like
  • Still in the experimental phase

The name of this one sounds a little cryptic, but don't let that put you off. Basically, the Experimental QUIC (pronounced "quick") protocol is a new internet transport protocol combining the best of UDP and TCP. QUIC works by making internet traffic look like generic layer 4 UDP traffic, which helps speed up surfing and increases security to boot.

03
of 08

Best for Security: Anonymize Local IPs Exposed by WebRTC

Internet security conceptual image

Andriy Onufriyenko/Getty Images

What We Like
  • Adds an extra layer of protection

What We Don't Like
  • Not a full security solution (VPNs are better for hiding your IP address)

For the security-minded, the Anonymize Local IPs Exposed by WebRTC flag can give you an extra layer of security and peace of mind. When enabled, this flag will conceal local IP addresses with mDNS hostnames. This can help to keep you more secure when browsing the the internet.

04
of 08

Best for Switching Tabs Quickly: Omnibox Tab Switch Suggestions

Chrome Omnibox Tab Switch
What We Like
  • Easy way to jump to open tabs

What We Don't Like
  • Only really useful if you have a lot of tabs open

This flag can help you save time by allowing you to switch to a currently open tab as part of your search. For example, if you type the word "CNN" in the omnibox, and you already have the CNN.com tab open, you can select Switch to this tab on the right to quickly switch to that tab.

05
of 08

Best for Easy Reading: Enable Reader Mode

Chrome Distill page
What We Like
  • Simple to access and use

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't work for every webpage

Enabling this flag will allow you to take advantage of Chrome's reader mode, also known as Distill page. Once enabled, you can select the Distill page option to strip extra elements (images, etc.) from a web page, leaving only text. To use distill page, enable the flag, and go to the webpage you wish to view, then select Distill page from the top right menu of your Chrome browser.

06
of 08

Best for Privacy: Secure DNS Lookups

HTTPS Browser
©Yuri Samoilov; CC BY 2.0 license
What We Like
  • Added security.

  • No additional setup required.

What We Don't Like
  • Not available on every platform.

  • Doesn't work with every site.

By now, most people are aware that an HTTPS connection is more secure because it encrypts your data as it moves between your computer and the site you're browsing. What most people don't know is your request to the site is still out in the open. Secure DNS Lookups attempts to change that by sending your request to a site's name server over HTTPS as well.

07
of 08

Best for Long Pages: Smooth Scrolling

Woman scrolling a web page on a tablet

PeopleImages/Getty Images 

What We Like
  • Does help to cut down on stuttering.

  • Fewer interruptions while browsing.

What We Don't Like
  • Uses more system resources.

If you've ever scrolled down a long web page, especially one packed with images and other media, you're sure to have noticed stutters, hang-ups, and screen tearing. Smooth scrolling works to eliminate that, providing a much more fluid browsing experience.

08
of 08

Best for Tabbed Browsing: Tab Groups

A screenshot of the Chrome browser settings page with a highlight on the "Open the New Tab page" option
What We Like
  • Easy to visually distinguish tabs.

  • Much better organization.

What We Don't Like
  • Can still get messy with extreme numbers.

  • Doesn't cut down on resource use.

Browser tabs are great. They revolutionized the way we navigate the web. Sometimes, though, they can get out of hand and take over. Tab groups eliminate the need to scroll through a seemingly endless row of open tabs at the top of your browser. Instead, you'll be able to organize your tabs into color-coded groups for faster and simpler access.