Want the hidden "Reader" mode in Chrome for Android? Here's how

Want the hidden
There are always little tips and tricks when it comes to Google products, and Chrome is often has the biggest heap of extra options hidden under the hood. If you like to find hidden options, you may be familiar with the chrome://flags menu that holds many of the experimental features that Google is working on. One of the better features you'll find in there is a hidden "Reader" mode.

Some of you may use apps like Pocket, Readability, or Instagram to reformat websites for easier reading; or, if you use iOS, Apple added a Reader mode to Safari with iOS 7. Google is apparently working on a built-in Reader mode for Chrome, but hasn't enabled it by default just yet. Luckily, you can turn it on yourself if you want. Here's how:

  • First, open up Chrome on your Android device, and navigate to chrome://flags
  • Then, find the "Enable Reader Mode Toolbar Icon" in the list, either by scrolling through (it's about halfway down), or by using the "find in page" option in the Chrome menu
  • Enable the feature, then tap the "Relaunch Now" button that pops up at the bottom to reboot Chrome

The new Reader mode icon will be an "A" with some lines next to it, and it'll show next to the search/address bar. Just note that the icon won't appear on all pages, and some of the pages that it shows on won't really benefit much from Reader mode (as you'll see below with the ESPN page). But, it is extremely helpful if a page still doesn't have a mobile-friendly version (really, NASA? What are you waiting for?)

Of course, there are tons of other things you can do in the chrome://flags menu on any platform, if you're brave enough to try. Just keep in mind that Google doesn't offer support on any of those experimental features; so, you're on your own if anything goes wrong. 


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13 Comments

1. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

What does it do, exactly?...

5. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

It is described in the second paragraph of this article.

2. hmd74

Posts: 539; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

Not useful really... but it's good to have it :D

12. AlikMalix unregistered

When you have ads, freaken hyperlinks, text boxes interrupted by photos, tiny/large text, and so on like it is on so many pages, specially yours truly - PA, this single-handedly eliminates it all and makes any body of text into a proper formatted page with preferred text size and style --- ONE BUTTON. Yep, not useful, right... (at least not as cumbersome as trying to enable this on Chrome)...

3. mdroid

Posts: 48; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

i activated it! nothing happened after relaunch. reader mode icon "A" did not appear, and i checked again, it shows activated.

4. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Disable it, and re-enable, and you should get the relaunch button again. I had to do that when I was testing it out.

6. frustyak

Posts: 247; Member since: Mar 08, 2010

I enabled/reenabled multiple times, it simply will not appear on mine.

8. boguid

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 04, 2014

It's dependent upon the website you're using and is useful on a webpage like a news article. If you click on a link to read a news article, and reader mode shows up next to the address bar, click on it and you will only get the article in an easy to read mode, and the rest of the junk that websites are always loading up won't be there. Hope this helps.

10. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

At first I thought you were gagakiller so I thought you were trolling.

7. Elfmonster unregistered

How about changing the background from white to black, reversing background color and text but not images?

13. AlikMalix unregistered

On iOS you can enable "invert colors" with a triple click. Then anything you're reading on any app or page can be inverted (unfortunately images too). But iBooks does it automatically in real time - would be nice for default browser to do that to text blocks.

9. tatail

Posts: 261; Member since: Jan 08, 2010

It is an excellent feature and very useful. Been using it on BlackBerry 10 for the last two years, it just shows you the article and content that you want that's it. Will have to check how Chrome reader mode stands against BB10 default browser.

11. AlikMalix unregistered

Wait, Chrome doesn't have this yet? One of the most used features on Safari for me, it just makes reading anything so much more pleasurable...

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