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12 time-saving tips for the Chrome Android browser

JR Raphael | Aug. 31, 2015
Become a mobile browsing pro with these little-known tips for Google's Chrome browser for Android.

Speaking of zooming, you're probably familiar with the now-standard pinch-and-spread method to zoom out and in on mobile devices. But in Chrome, you've got a couple other choices — both of which can be quite useful when you're using your phone with a single hand.

First, on many devices, you can simply double-tap anywhere on a page to zoom into that specific area and have it take up the full width of your display.

Second, you can double-tap and then leave your finger down — so tap once, lift, tap again, stay down — and then drag downward to zoom in or upward to zoom out. (See the video at the top of the page for a demo.) It sounds a bit strange, but give it a whirl. You'll be a pro in no time.

(Note that these advanced zooming methods won't work on all Web pages; generally, if a site is optimized for mobile viewing, you'll be limited to the regular ol' pinching action. But more often than not, the need to zoom comes up when a site isn't optimized for mobile viewing, so these techniques can still come in handy.)

4. Return your tabs to their original home

Most devices with Android 5.0 or higher allow you to view your various browser tabs within the main system Overview list — you know, the app-switching thing that pops up when you press the button next to your Home key. But that Overview list can quickly become overloaded and difficult to manage.

If you'd rather handle your tabs within Chrome itself, as you did in the pre-Lollipop years, all it takes is a simple switch to get things back to that more traditional setup. Provided your device supports the feature, you'll find the option under the "Merge tabs and apps" line in Chrome's settings.

5. Master Chrome's hidden gestures

Feel like saving some time? (Who doesn't?) Chrome for Android has some hidden gestures that'll let you take care of common tasks quickly and efficiently. (Note that on devices running Android 5.0 or higher, these gestures work only if you manage your tabs within Chrome, as described in the previous tip. You can see all these gestures in action in the video at the top of the page.)

On a phone, swipe down from the browser's address bar to see all your open tabs as cards on the screen. Tap on any tab to jump right to it, or swipe sideways to close it.

Swipe downward on Chrome's menu button, meanwhile, to move right into the menu without ever lifting your finger. Just keep swiping down until you reach the option you want.


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