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How To Enable The New Look App Shelf in Chrome OS Dev


(Chrome)Cast your minds back to July and you may recall we previewed 3 UI changes hot-footing their way to the Chrome OS desktop.

Spike-less pop-ups, colourful new click-states for the system tray and app launcher and, in the the case of the latter, a move to the far left of the app shelf.

Chrome OS System Tray - Colourful

Chrome OS System Tray – Colourful

A flag (read: ‘on switch‘) for these changes was added to the dev channel of Chrome OS recently. Enabling it gives you the chance to play with the new layout ahead of its arrival in Chrome OS Stable next month.

At present the new shelf design is only available on the Chrome OS Dev Channel. It should make its way to the Beta channel in a couple of weeks.

To enable the new Chrome App Shelf design:

  • Open a new tab in Chrome
  • Enter the URL ‘chrome:flags’ followed by Enter/ReturnĀ 
  • Press Ctrl+F and search for the word ‘Shelf’
  • Click ‘Enable’
  • Restart Chrome
  • Kolok

    I’m in the dev channel and when I search for shelf it only finds 1 results:

    Immersive fullscreen Chrome OS

    Enables “immersive fullscreen” where the tab strip at the top and the app shelf at the bottom are still accessible in fullscreen.

    That doesn’t seem to be the right option. What should the option say?

    • Yam Borodetsky

      The option should say “Alternative shelf layout”

      Make sure you are on the dev channel. What’s the version of your OS?

      • Kolok

        Oops… I forgot I did a power wash and didn’t re-enable the dev channel.

  • miri

    It feels so… backwards. But otherwise it’s kinda nice. I like the blue.

  • Mark Dodsworth

    This is nice, a little visual clue what is selected. Love simple stuff like this.

  • Jonathan Alfonso

    I want the highlight coloring, but not the relocating of the launcher. It just feels so backwards.

  • Man, I miss that old one. I guess chrome://flags has failed me.