Chrome for iOS, regardless of being 'dumbed down' to accommodate Apple’s draconian WebKit specifications, is still a pretty terrific browser all round. And considering that it is available for almost every major desktop and mobile platform translates into a unified experience matched only by a few others.
The Chrome's recent UI overhaul also means that navigating is now super-easy. Just in case you don’t see it already, you can apply the new theme manually. But are there any other tips and tricks that can allow for an even better experience? Well, you are just about to find out.
If there’s one thing that makes Chrome a clear winner on any platform, it’s the ability to sync bookmarks, history, passwords, etc., across all of your devices. So if you already haven’t, tap Settings on the Chrome menu, and then tap Sign in to Chrome to get started — you need a Google Account for that.
Once signed in, Chrome for iOS syncs everything by default. However, you can also manage the type of data that you want to be synced. To do that, tap your profile within the Settings screen, and then turn off the slider next to Sync Everything to access a range of sync settings.
2. Continue Sessions on Other Devices
Provided that you are signed in with a Google Account, Chrome for iOS lets you readily access the browsing sessions of your other devices as well. If you’ve got a couple of Guiding Tech site tabs open on your desktop, simply continuing them on your iOS device takes next to no time. But how?
Just tap the Recent Tabs option on the Chrome menu, and you can see a real-time list of devices along with all active tab favicons — select a tab, and you are good to go. Pretty cool, right?
3. Share with Apps and Others
The Share Sheet, which you can access via the Share icon on the URL bar, is your one-stop spot when it comes to sharing webpages. Want to mail or iMessage a link to someone? Just open the Share Sheet and tap Mail or Message. Or perhaps you want to add a URL to a note? The Add to Notes option is ready and waiting.
But is that all? Of course not. See that More icon to the left of the upper row? Tap it, and you can enable more supported apps to show up within the Share Sheet.
4. Continue on PC or Handoff to Mac
While you can readily access the tabs on other devices using the Recent Tabs option, there are times when you want to continue working on a tab from a Mac or a PC that doesn't have Chrome installed.
Mac users can use Handoff — tap Privacy on the Settings screen to turn Handoff on and off. When it comes to Windows, you need to install the Continue on PC app from the App Store first, after which you can easily share links to PC via the Share Sheet.
5. Save PDFs
For a long time, saving a PDF on Chrome for iOS required strenuous effort. But recently, Chrome overcame this limitation by adding a separate Share Sheet dedicated solely to PDFs. But where is it?
Once you load up a PDF file, you should see an OPEN IN option at the bottom of the screen.
Tap it, and you can easily open the file in other apps such as Notes, Adobe Acrobat, Continue on PC, and iBooks, or even save it directly to cloud-storage via the Files app.
Google provides you with some neat stuff to play around with. But that also means that they collect data on just about everything you do. Fortunately, you have a choice to change that, at least when it comes to the search engine you use.
Tap Search Engine within the Settings screen, and you can easily switch to either Yahoo! or Bing for both direct and Omnibox searches.
Who doesn’t love a little anonymity? Whether you are buying a gift for a loved one or need some absolute privacy for something else, Chrome’s Incognito mode should help you out immensely.
See that New Incognito Tab option on the Chrome menu? Just tap it, and you can now surf around without leaving behind any traces of your browsing activity. However, do note that websites can still track you, so it’s not the means for complete anonymity on the internet.
Note: Alternatively, you can also open a new Incognito tab faster by tapping and holding the tab switcher icon — on the menu that shows up, simply tap New Incognito Tab.
8. Request Desktop Site
Stumbled across the mobile version of a site that feels way too restrictive on your iPhone or iPad? Not to worry. The Request Desktop Site option on the Chrome menu lets you load a drastically better version (in most cases) of the site immediately.
Note: Navigating desktop sites can be an issue. Consider using the pinch-zoom touch gesture for a better experience.
The browser also remembers your preference for each tab, so any links that you access subsequently should also load in desktop mode. To stop it from doing so, tap the Request Mobile Site option on the Chrome menu.
9. Voice Search
Feeding long search terms in Chrome via the onscreen keyboard can be a drag. So why not use Voice Search instead? Just tap the Voice Search icon on the Google search bar and speak away.
Note: On tabs that are already loaded with a site, tap and hold the Search icon, and then tap Voice Search on the pop-up menu.
The Voice Search feature can even speak back answers to questions à la OK Google-style, so make sure to put it to good use. Head over to the Settings screen and tap Voice Search, and you can also select from dozens of other languages to search from.
10. QR Code Scanner
Did you know that Chrome for iOS has its own QR code scanner? Pretty surprising, right? Tap and hold the search icon, and then tap Scan QR Code to bring it up.
Once you perform a scan, any relevant links with the QR code should launch in Chrome for iOS immediately.
11. Automatically Translate Content
Stumbled across a site in a foreign language? Rather than wasting time copying and pasting words into an online translator and making a mess of things just use the built-in Google Translate module instead.
Whenever Chrome for iOS detects a different language, it should prompt you to translate the page. Once translated, you can also configure the browser to automatically do that in the future without your input, which is great for a seamless browsing experience.
Note: If you don’t see an automatic prompt, head over to the Content Settings section on the Settings screen to turn on Google Translate.
12. Clear Browsing Data
What if you forgot all about the Incognito mode and accidentally search for something personal in a regular tab instead? Not cool, right? Thankfully, you can clear the browser cache to set the record straight.
Tap the Privacy option on the Settings screen, and then tap Clear Browsing Data — you should then see several types of data that you can clear. While removing browsing history should suffice, consider deleting cookies, site data, and cached images and files as well to erase all traces of your browsing activity.
Note: Take care not to remove saved passwords and autofill data unless you really want to.
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13. Disable Suggested Content
Noticed all those stupid suggested articles that show up on new tabs? Unsurprisingly, Google is quite adept at showing posts that really make you waste time instead of getting some work done.
Fortunately, you can remove them permanently. Head over to the Settings screen, and then turn off Article Suggestions to do that.
Unlike on Android, Chrome for iOS lacks a data saver feature that can be a real detriment when using cellular data. However, there’s an alternate setting that can help preserve at least some amount of bandwidth.
Tap Bandwidth within the Settings screen, tap Preload Webpages, and then select the Only on Wi-Fi option. That should stop Chrome from pre-fetching site content, thereby toning down on cellular data usage significantly.
However, this does slow down your browsing experience, so only modify the setting if you absolutely have to.
15. Save Pages for Offline Reading
Heading out to somewhere with no internet access? Not to worry. Open the Share Sheet and then tap Read Later to save the current webpage locally. You can do this for as many pages as you want.
To access the saved pages, tap the Reading List option present on new tab pages or on the Chrome menu.
16. Select Items with a Single Swipe
A lot of the tips above required you to open the Chrome menu, either to select an option outright or to visit the Settings screen. Well, here’s an advice to choose menu items swiftly.
Start off by tapping and holding the Chrome menu icon. Next, slide your finger over the option that you want to select and release.
It takes a few tries to get used to the gesture, but things should be much smoother after a while. And, a single tap is always better than two, right?
17. Use Split-View (iPad)
Using Chrome on the iPad? Why don’t you use split-view to browse while using another app alongside? Such as YouTube, for example.
Simply open the iPad dock and drag the app icon that you want to multi-task with over Chrome. Next, it's just a matter of pulling down the handle at the top of the app to initiate split-view. You can also manage the screen real-estate using the handle located in between the apps.
Split-view is also a useful way to drag and drop content between apps.
18. Keep Chrome Updated
There’s nothing worse than an outdated browser. If you fail to update Chrome for iOS, you might open your device to numerous security vulnerabilities. And even losing out on the latest features and bug fixes.
If you don't have automatic updates set up, make sure to check for them regularly — at least once per month — to ensure that you get the best Chrome experience on your iPhone or iPad.
Updates can be performed easily via the App Store — just load it up and tap Updates to check for available updates.
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Go Surf like a Pro
Chrome for iOS should be much more useful, fun, and productive once you begin to implement these tips. Even though it packs ton of options, a few good ones are still limited to Android platform.
Here's hoping for Apple to allow more leeway on third-party browsers so that Google can add even more awesome features!