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Chrome OS 92 arrived to Chromebooks on Monday this week following a week of delay, and it’s packed with a ton of helpful features to supercharge your ability to communicate on Chrome OS. There are several additional features and tweaks that are not yet part of the default experience — a few we detailed earlier this week. That’s because they’re still in development and need polishing before being made available for millions of Chromebook users around the globe. Google has hidden these work-in-progress Chrome OS features, or “flags,” behind a page in the Chrome browser, and you’d be wise not to enable them at random — the wrong one could render your device unusable.
With this guide, we’ll show you the best hidden features with a low risk of instability that we’ve tested extensively and recommend turning on now. Activate them by copying and pasting the following URLs (in bold) into Chrome’s URL bar and hitting enter.
New flags to try on Chrome OS 92
Changes to our recommended Chrome flags list:
- chrome:flags#enable-cros-virtual-keyboard-multipaste (default)
- chrome:flags#scan-app-media-link (default)
- chrome:flags#enable-cros-ime-system-emoji-picker (default)
- chrome:flags#enable-accessibility-live-caption (default)
- chrome:flags#spectre-v2-mitigation (no noticeable impact on cores)
- chrome:flags#avatar-toolbar-button (now integrated in Chrome OS accounts)
- chrome:flags#enable-desktop-pwas-remove-status-bar (expired)
- chrome:flags#turn-off-streaming-media-caching-on-battery (expired)
There are more flags we recommend below, along with details that explain what each flag does.
The following is a list of fun but experimental flags we recommend for those itching to test upcoming Chrome features with low risk of instability. Although considered safe for daily use, your experience may differ. Android Police and Google are not liable for lost data, unstable sessions, and other damages caused by enabling Chrome flags. Remember to hit the “Reset all to default” button on the Chrome flags page if something odd happens and make frequent backups of your session so you lose nothing. Enable these flags with caution.
Improve the Linux gaming experience
Linux operates in a container under Chrome OS, giving you access to an extensive selection of Linux apps like Inkscape, Audacity, and Steam. The following flag will help improve the Linux gaming experience.
- Unable to play games on your Chromebook because of the frustrating cursor? Enable this Chrome flag to allow Linux applications to request the mouse pointer, necessary when playing Linux games on Chrome OS.
Chrome OS UI tweaks
Want to toggle on some new flags that bring cosmetic changes to the Chrome OS UI? This flag will round corners and enhance its looks.
- Google is testing a refreshed media controls UI that adapts to the video thumbnail’s primary colors. To make its design less drab on Chrome and Chrome OS, enable the modern UI flag.
New media controls UI on the Chrome OS shelf.
Show the date on the Chrome OS system tray.
- For almost a year, Google has been working on decoupling categories away from the file manager’s navigation pane and merging them into Recent as file-type filters. By enabling this Chrome flag, the file manager will look less cluttered, allow you to show more of your folders in the navigation pane.
A flag turns Audio, Images, and Videos categories into file-type filters.
- It’s frustrating to find out about your digital pen’s battery is low when you least expect it. To keep track of its battery, you can enable this Chrome flag. Its battery level will show up in your stylus settings, but your mileage may vary depending on your pen.
Digital pen’s battery in the stylus tools.
Improve productivity in Chrome OS
Chrome OS has several useful hidden tricks up its sleeves to enhance your productivity.
- It’s an inconvenience to launch your frequently used apps every time you restart your Chromebook. By enabling this feature, your Chromebook will be able to relaunch all the windows you had opened previously, including your Chrome tabs and Android apps.
Chrome OS restores Android and Chrome apps upon signing in.
- If you have multiple Android apps on screen when you restart your Chromebook, their windows will display a fancy loading animation while waiting for Android to finish initalizing. Enable this Chrome flag along with the full restore flag from above to see the pre-load app windows.
- Virtual Desks on Chrome OS are a terrific way to multitask — it’s like having the benefit of dual monitors on a single screen. However, if you have a Chrome window opened on one virtual desktop, clicking its icon on the taskbar will (annoyingly) switch you to that workspace. Enable this Chrome flag to limit items on the taskbar to the ones associated with windows on the active virtual desktop.
Chrome OS will limit taskbar items to their windows on the active desktop.
- A common gripe that many have with their dual-monitor setup on Chromebooks is that windows and apps launch only on the primary display — forcing you to drag-and-drop windows to the secondary screen. Enabling this Chrome flag will allow windows to open on the display where your cursor is.
- With much of the world working remotely from home these days, many of us are still relying on video calls to communicate with our family, friends, and colleagues. You can take your audio quality to the next level with noise cancellation — so long as you have the right external hardware. Enable this Chrome flag to allow toggling input noise cancellation through the Quick Settings.
- We’ve all made that dreaded mistake of deleting the wrong file by accident. By default, Chromebooks doesn’t provide a way to restore the file or folder you removed. Enable this Chrome flag to add a trash folder to the file manager, which functions similar to the ever-iconic Recycle Bin found on Windows.
The trash folder in the Chrome OS file manager.
- PWAs are inching a step closer to feeling native with app shortcuts. While the feature became available for Chrome and Edge last year, it lacked support for Chrome OS. Enable this Chrome flag to get PWA app shortcuts for Chromebooks.
App shortcuts for Twitter on Chrome OS.
- Currently, the Chrome OS shell runs in the browser, which can add clutter to your Chrome tabs. Enable this Chrome flag to run it as a tabbed system web app.
Chrome OS shell running in a tabbed system web app.
- Troubleshooting network issues on our devices can be quite annoying, especially if we’re unable to search online for answers. If you enable this hidden Chrome flag, Diagnostics will have a new networking section that will help eliminate the guessing game from connectivity troubleshooting.
Check your network connectivity directly from the Diagnostics app.
- Your Chromebook gives you different options for connecting to the web, but not every network provides unlimited data access. Enable this Chrome flag to bring the toggle back. You can also use the metered toggle to stop Chromebooks from updating automatically.
- Moving apps to different pages in the Chrome OS launcher feels slippery and unpolished. To improve the launcher’s usability, Google is working on a new paging UI, making it easy to see where your app icons are going when moving them around. Enable this Chrome flag to see some of its improvements to the launcher.
Launcher app paging makes dragging apps to different pages less frustrating.
Chrome productivity enhancements
Google Chrome is naturally the tightly integrated default web browser in Chrome OS. Here is a list of flags that enhance the web browsing experience.
- If you’re watching a lengthy video or series, the time saved by speeding it up slightly could amount up to hours, without necessarily making the content hard to understand. If you enable this Chrome flag, the browser will integrate playback speed controls right into its media player to save yourself some time.
Control playback speeds directly from Chrome’s media player.
- Sharing a block of text you’ve found online is a hassle, especially if it’s hard to find on a particularly long webpage. By enabling this flag, you can create a link that takes you directly to that text. Highlight a selection of words, right-click, and select “Copy link to highlight.”
- Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) is part of its Privacy Sandbox, a new suite of tools to replace the conventional third-party cookie tracking that traditionally comes with advertising on the web. Google has made good on its promise to offer a manual toggle for its FLoC for those concerned about it, which you can access by enabling this flag. You’ll see a new option under Privacy Sandbox in Chrome settings to toggle off FLoC.
With the above Chrome flag, you’ll be able to disable FLoC under Privacy Sandbox.
- Permission requests for things like notifications can be intrusive and distracting. Enable this Chrome flag to activate a more modern, less annoying permission prompt.
Permission requests are a lot less annoying with the new design.
- If you have a lot of tabs open, it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish between them. Enable this flag to show a preview of the web page when hovering your cursor over a Chrome tab, which is useful for quickly finding tabs.
Hovering your cursor over your Chrome tab will show a preview of that tab.
- Chrome OS launches PWAs into a single app window, which is annoying if you want to be productive. Enable this flag to add Chrome’s tab strip to PWAs to help speed up your workflow with multiple Chrome tabs.
Tabbed PWAs in Chrome OS makes it easier to multitask.
- Currently, launching a new tab in a PWA will create a new Chrome instance, breaking your focus. Enable this Chrome flag to fix links in PWAs.
- Need a certain PWA to launch after clicking on a link? Enabling this Chrome flag will allow you to prefer launching a PWA from your Chromebook.
Improve scrolling in Chrome
Does scrolling feel rough when browsing through webpages using Chrome? Thanks to Microsoft Edge developers, the scrolling experience will be much smoother with these flags enabled.
- For the next step in porting Microsoft Edge’s scrolling improvements into Chrome, the Edge developers introduce percent-based mouse scrolling. This system fixes an issue where free-floating scroll wheels (like on a Logitech MX Master) would not correctly scroll. Enable it to improve the free-floating scroll on Chrome OS.
Get better Chromebook performance
Working with a slow machine is frustrating, especially when the battery doesn’t last very long. One of your Chromebook’s strengths is its lightweight nature, making the system feel more agile than most. There are a few flags that could speed up your Chromebook, but they may introduce security issues.
- Chrome OS disabled hyperthreading on a few older Intel-based Chromebooks because of an MDS vulnerability with the CPU. Check Cog to see if it disabled a few of its cores. If the performance loss from the deactivated cores is too significant for your use-case, enable the flag to get the cores back – with caution.
Improve Chrome’s performance
The Chrome web browser is agile and robust, but some people complain about their Chromebook’s performance. These sets of flags should slightly improve Chrome’s performance.
- Chromebooks with low RAM can run into performance hitches with several Chrome tabs opened in tab groups. Enable this Chrome flag to sleep tabs collapsed inside a tab group, reducing memory usage.
That’s about all the useful flags in Chrome OS 92 that we recommend trying. I cannot wait for these features to roll out to everyone, and I’m excited to see Chrome OS grow even further in the coming weeks and months.