How To Unlock Chrome's Hidden Bottom Toolbar In Android

Most mobile web browsers keep the URL bar and UI controls at the top of the screen, but this layout isn’t great when using a device with a large screen or certain accessibility restrictions. Some browsers—notably Firefox Preview and Vivaldi mobile—have easily accessible bottom-screen UIs that make the app much easier to manage with your thumbs, but you might be surprised to hear there’s a similar bottom-screen menu option hidden away in Chrome’s experimental settings on Android.

What the bottom toolbar looks like when enabled (Screenshot: Brendan Hesse)

The feature is part of the “Duet” redesign for Chrome and will hopefully be easier to enable in the future, but for now, Chrome users can turn on the hidden menu by editing the app’s flags.

Open the Android Chrome app and go to chrome://flags, then search for “Duet” in the search bar. Tap the drop-down menu next to “Chrome Duet” and select the button configuration you want from the drop-down menu.

Here’s what each option does:

  • “Enabled” or “Home-Search-Share variation:” Adds home, search, and share button to the bottom menu.

  • “NewTab-Search-Share variation:” Adds new tab, search, and share button to the menu.

  • “Home-Search-TabSwitcher variation:” Adds home, search, and new tab shortcut to the menu.

  • “Default” and “Disabled” will turn off the Duet UI.

Select the button configuration you want (I find the “Home-Search-TabSwitcher” variation to be the most convenient), then tap “Relaunch” at the bottom of the menu to apply the changes and restart the app. You should see a new shortcut menu at the bottom of the screen once Chrome loads.

Personally, I wish Chrome’s URL bar made the jump to the bottom of the screen as well, but having at least a few of the most-used buttons easily tappable makes Chrome mobile much easier to use on larger screens.

[Gadget Hacks]

This article has been updated since its original publication.


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