Until recently, the only way to open a link in Chrome’s mobile browser was to leave your current page or punt the link to a separate tab. Neither scenario is ideal, especially if you just want to briefly browse a link before opening it. Thankfully, Chrome now finally lets you preview hyperlinks in Android.
Google recently added the page-preview option via a server-side update. It is turned on by default for all devices, so you don’t have to dig through your settings or install any further patches to get it working, but some users may not know it’s even possible to preview links since Google added the functionality so suddenly.
To preview a link in Chrome’s Android app:
- Long-press a hyperlink to open a pop-up menu
- Select “Preview page.”
- A smaller tab will open over the current page. You can scroll through the preview and view its content like normal without leaving the page you’re already on.
- If you want to load a previewed page in its own tab, tap the arrow icon in the upper right. Press the “X” icon to close a preview window.
Link previewing is a small addition for Chrome, but a helpful one that serves several purposes, allowing you to spot pranks or skim an article to see if it’s what you’re looking for.
That said, don’t preview pages unless you know for sure it’s a safe website. Previewing a link loads all of a page’s content — including all the images, videos, and code the page uses. That includes any NSFW content you may be avoiding, but there’s bigger threats than adult websites to worry about.
Phishing and malware scams often use fake URLs to steal personal information or sneak malicious software onto your devices, and previewing these pages can be just as dangerous as opening them directly. The best option is to simply not touch suspicious links. However, you can inspect a link in Chrome without opening or previewing the page: Just long-tap the link to open the pop-up menu. The link’s URL is displayed at the top of the menu. If you don’t recognise the URL, or if it’s obviously fake, don’t click on it.