If you’re not a fan of Chrome’s card interface for the tabs you have open, then you can follow these steps to enable the Accessibility Tab Switcher UI.
Every year Google tinkers with various bits of Android’s user interface and some people like these changes while others do not. For instance, Google recently switched to a stacked card interface for open applications shown in the Overview page. Some people enjoyed how the cards looked and flowed around but others saw it as reducing the information density of the display (showing less information on a single screen) and do not like the change.
Google ended up using a similar style with open tabs within their Chrome web browser application as well.
Which again, some people really enjoyed but others felt it was a step backward and wished there was a way to change things back to how they were. There isn’t an option to go back to the way things used to be, there is a new option hidden in the chrome://flags page within the Chrome application that lets you enable the Accessibility Tab Switcher interface.
Sadly, the card interface is still present (as of writing this) when you use the swipe down gesture from the address bar within Chrome, but this new Accessibility Tab Switcher UI shows up when you tap on the box with the number inside it right next to the address bar.
Chrome Accessibility Tab Switcher
- Launch the Chrome application
- Copy/paste the following link into your address bar. . .
- . . .and press Enter on the keyboard
- Tap the Enable button for this feature
- Tap the Relaunch Now button at the bottom
- Then tap the box next to the address bar to test
It is a bit disappointing that the swipe down gesture doesn’t reveal this new tab switcher UI once it is enabled. But we have to remember, this is something that was enabled in the chrome://flags menu and most of this is still in development and/or not fully developed. This could end up changing in the future, or Google could end up removing this option all together. It really is anyone’s guess but as long as it’s in place right now then I felt it would be worth sharing.
So we simply need to open up Chrome to start this process. Just like the other Chrome tips that I have shared in the past, these are just features built into the application and knowing about it is half the battle. Once Chrome is open, go ahead and copy/paste/type in the stuff you see in Step 3 of the guide above. If you want though, you could simply go to the chrome://flags address and then search for “tab-” (without quotes) to find the exact feature you’re looking for.
Either method will take you to the option buried within the laundry list of other features hidden here. There’s a simple Enable text link under the feature description and we simply need to tap on it to initiate the process. Once enabled though, we need to restart Chrome in order for the new feature to show up. Thankfully, you’ll be greeted with a Relaunch Now button at the bottom once you enable or disable something within this page.
Tapping this button will automatically close Chrome and then open it right back up with the feature automatically enabled. As mentioned, swiping down from the address bar will still make the card UI appear, but if you tap on the box to the right of the address bar within Chrome then you will see the new Accessibility Tab Switcher as shown in the embedded video above. As always, you can go back to this same chrome://flags page and disable this feature in the future if you end up not liking it.