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How to enable Chrome’s secret Material Design update on desktop and iOS

Google Chrome redesign

Slowly but surely, Google is bringing its Chrome browser up to speed for 2018. Google has been rolling out elements of its latest Material Design refresh for months now, but some have been hidden behind settings flags that users have to manually adjust in order to activate. That was the case once again this week with the release of Chrome 68, which includes several design changes worth checking out on desktop and iOS devices.

While the desktop changes are relatively minimal (read more about those here), the iOS redesign is sweeping in its scope. As The Verge points out, Google has moved the navigation controls to the bottom of the app, overhauled the new tab page, and added a new search button to make it easier to get to the address bar.

Just updating Chrome on desktop or iOS isn’t enough to enable these changes. As far as Google is concerned, the design changes aren’t quite ready for public consumption, but there is a simple workaround that everyone has access to in case you want to see what the future of Google’s browser looks like right now.

Chrome Desktop users:

  • Type chrome://flags/#top-chrome-md in the address bar and press enter
  • In the box next to UI Layout for the browser’s top chrome, choose Refresh
  • Relaunch Chrome in order for the changes to take effect

Chrome iOS users:

  • Type chrome://flags/#top-chrome-md in the address bar and tap Go
  • Scroll down to UI Refresh Phase 1 and choose Enabled from the drop-down menu
  • Reload the Chrome app to see the updated design

We still don’t know when these changes will appear in the stable build of Chrome without having to jump through hoops, but the redesign is certainly coming along nicely. There’s also no word on when Android users will be able to test out the changes, as they have yet to be included in the newest version of Chrome on Android.

Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.

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