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Three Gestures You (Probably) Don’t Use in Chrome on Android

Consider yourself to be a clued-up user of Google Chrome for Android? So did I…until I discovered the following gestures that make using the browser a teeny tiny bit easier on equally teeny tiny screens.

Do you use them? Pull your phone out of your pocket and play along as you read. On the off chance you’re a smarty pants who does know all of these tricks, show them to someone who doesn’t.

tab switching swipeTab Switch Swiping

Longtime users of Chrome on Android may remember that you used to be able to switch between running tabs on the mobile version by swiping in from the edge of the screen.

Google sort of retired this feature last year. I say ‘sort of’ because you can still cycle between your open pages with a gesture, you just have to do it in a different part of the screen.

To try it out, first make sure you have more than one tab open. Then:

  • Place your finger on the Chrome toolbar
  • Swipe left/right to move to the previous/next tab

Since the tablet build of Chrome puts tabs on show at all times this gesture only works on the mobile version.

Single Move Menus

Android gesture gif

To launch or access an option in the overflow menu in most Android applications, you tap the vertical dot menu button, wait for the menu to appear, and then select the menu option you need.

But if you’re really lazy, you can reduce the amount of taps.

A feature unbeknownst to many, in most Android apps you don’t have to take your finger off the screen to select items from menus:

  • Tap the menu button and slide your finger downwards
  • Drag/slide to highlight the option you want
  • Lift your finger off the screen to action it

Useful? Depends. The gesture is primarily aimed at making menus easier to use with your thumbs (rather than pointy finger picking).

Android tab switcherTab Switcher

Viewing a list of open tabs is simple: you just prod the ‘tab switcher’ icon in the toolbar and they exposé into view.

But a less pokey way to perform this action exists:

  • Pull down from the toolbar 
  • Tab switcher overview is revealed

Now just pick the tab you want as usual or, with your finger still on the screen, push the stack back up to the top to return to the tab you were viewing.

Other Gestures

Those are three gestures you might not know, so here are three you hopefully do:

  • In tab overview swipe taps to left/right to close them
  • Double-tap on web-pages to ‘smart zoom’ content
  • Pinch to zoom in on webpages. 

Do you have any favourite tips or tricks for using Chrome on mobile? Let us know below or on Facebook. 

  • rheerani

    I use them all! :D

    Edit: there’s an easter egg in tab switcher, swipe up multiple times and all the tabs do a backflip as one.

    edit 2: Double tap and and then swipe up or down for zooming in and out, works in other apps too.

  • Bill O’Dwyer

    One gesture that’s not on here that absolutely should is the one-finger zoom. Do a double tap, but on the second tap hold your finger down and drag up or down to zoom in and out.

    • Noremacam

      I use this all the time when browsing one handed!

      • Jon Hogg

        * Disapproving look *

    • aaphid

      Agreed! But does anyone know why it’s so inconsistent? It works on some pages and not others.

      • Marcell Lévai

        Some pages (mobile optimized pages) aren’t supposed to be zoomed in. You can’t zoom in on them with two fingers either.

        • aaphid

          Yes you’re right but I’m seeing a lot of pages that can be zoomed in with two fingers not respond to the one-finger zoom. For example, this very page we are on now doesn’t allow one-finger zoom but two-finger zoom works fine.

      • Bill O’Dwyer

        I believe it’s only for websites that aren’t optimised for mobiles.

  • KlavsAnson

    Nāve been using the first one since I got my new phone…

  • Edgar Jeknavorian

    Cool !! Thanks

  • GeorgeDao123

    I use them all.

  • http://whizzer0.bandcamp.com whizzer0

    1. Knew
    2. New
    3. Not on tablets

    It took me ages to work out how to do 1 after they removed the edge swipe, conveniently not long after I bought my Nexus 7. I was really puzzled by its continued appearance in the first-time-help screen.

  • http://www.AncientBeast.com/ Dread Knight

    Nice tips, though I’m still on desktop most of the time :)

  • Will S.

    Sweet!

  • Artemy Flyunt

    1 of 3. Good attempt :D

  • http://about.me/inversesandwich InverseSandwich

    Strangely enough, I actually use all three!