Chrome tests a grid layout for the tab switcher, but you can disable it

If you’re using Chrome on your phone and you suddenly notice that the tab switcher is no longer a scrolling list of cards but a grid, you’re not alone. Chrome is testing this new layout — we’ve received reports of it turning on by default for some users on Dev and Canary. A few seemed to like it, while others weren’t all that happy about it. If you’re part of the second camp, know that you can easily disable it.

Like all things Chrome, this change is under a flag. Go to chrome://flags#enable-tab-grid-layout (copy the URL and paste it in your address bar) and you’ll be able to force it as enabled, disabled, or keep the setting as default and let Google decide server-side where you fall. The flag is still not live in the stable channel though, so if you want to test it, you’ll need to grab a more cutting-edge version of Chrome.

Left: Tab grid layout. Right: Flag to enable or disable it.

I think this new layout brings something interesting. It lets you see six full tabs, and part of two more on the bottom. It’s more information dense, sure, and tab titles are quite truncated, but if you have several tabs open with visually different favicons and colors, and want to switch between them efficiently, this is a nice option.

With this new grid layout, Chrome has a total of four tab switcher designs. The one on the left below is the default when nothing else is active. The middle one is what we know as the horizontal tab switcher (chrome://flags#enable-horizontal-tab-switcher) and like for its purer aesthetic. And the one on the right is the accessibility tab switcher (chrome://flags/#enable-accessibility-tab-switcher), which strips away all graphics and scrolling, focusing instead on page names and URLs.

Left: Chrome’s default tab switcher. Middle: Horizontal. Right: Accessibility.

Chrome Dev
Chrome Dev
Chrome Canary (Unstable)
Chrome Canary (Unstable)
  • Thanks:
  • Samriddha Basu,
  • Abdul Vahit IŞIK,
  • Moshe
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