Chrome’s Special Features to Help You Browse Better on a Mobile Device


Chrome offers powerful capabilities to help make browsing smoother on mobile devices. These tips below should help you use the browser to the best effect.

Using swipe gestures

On the iPhone, iPad and on Android phones, Chrome recognizes special swipe gestures that allow you to easily move among open tabs. The gestures recognized are different for different devices, though. On Android phones, you simply need to flick your finger left or right on the browser window to move among open tabs. On Apple devices, you need to do the swiping at the edge of the screen. Curiously, Google doesn’t implement any of these swipe gestures on Android tablets.

Switching among different tabs on Chrome is easy on all phones

Tapping Chrome’s tab button lets you view all your open tabs at once. You can tap on any tab that you would like to see and swipe any tab left or right to turn it off. The menu button at the top right gives you the option to close all open tabs at once.

Activate Smart Zoom with a double tap

Zooming in for a closer look at a webpage doesn’t require you to expand it with two fingers. Instead, you simply need to double-tap it anywhere on the window. Chrome does intelligent zooming, too. Whatever part of the screen you wish to get a closer look at, double-tapping on it centers the page at that point as Chrome zooms in.

Unfortunately, double-tapping only works on sites that are meant for desktop browsers. It doesn’t work on regular mobile websites. For those, you still need to use pinching-to-zoom.

You can request the desktop version of any site

Many websites are programmed to serve different versions, depending on the kind of device a user arrives on. As convenient as this feature may be, it isn’t always appropriate. Many visitors need to simply be able to use the general purpose website sometimes. Chrome allows this – you simply need to click on the Menu button on Chrome and ask to see the desktop version.


Since data connections tend to be slower than Wi-Fi connections, browsing on 3G or even 4G can be somewhat unsatisfying, depending on the data speeds that you have where you are. Chrome attempts to help with this problem by offering a feature called Reduce Data Usage. This feature compresses webpages as they are sent to you.

Preloading, a feature that’s only enabled by default for Wi-Fi use, has Chrome preloading pages that it is believes you will be interested in. For instance, if you are reading a 3-page article, Chrome loads all the pages to follow while you read the first one. Since the preloading feature can download pages that you aren’t interested in, though, Google doesn’t turn it on by default for cellular data use. You can waste precious data this way. You can turn it on manually, though.