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How to turn on Google Chrome’s secret Reader Mode

Prefer a more simplified look when browsing the web? Here’s how to enable Reader Mode on Google Chrome.

google chrome logo on purple background for google search
Image: KnowTechie

On the surface, Google Chrome doesn’t appear to have a Reader Mode. But if you look a little closer and dig a little deeper, you’ll find that the feature does exist.

Reader Mode displays pages in a simplified view for easy reading. The tool works best with articles and other similar content, providing a more digestible format.

Why Google feels the need to bury the feature is unclear, but locating the appropriate settings is straightforward, once you know where to look. Let’s discuss the process for enabling Chrome’s secret Reader Mode.

Enable Google Chrome’s hidden reader mode on desktop

chrome reader mode icon
Image: KnowTechie

UPDATE 5/3/2022 9:16 AM ET: Google pushed an update to Google Chrome on April 26, 2022, and it seems to have removed Reader Mode from the Chrome desktop app.

Apparently, the feature flag for Reader Mode was set to expire after version 100. And the attempt to extend the feature to version 104 seemingly failed.

Thankfully, there’s a workaround that brings it back. Start by typing chrome://flags into your address bar. But instead of searching for “Reader Mode,” search for “Temporarily unexpired M100 flags” and enable that option.

If you prefer to read your news and other articles in a more simplified format, here’s how to enable Reader Mode in the Chrome desktop app:

  1. Launch Google Chrome and type chrome://flags in the address bar chrome desktop flags for reader mode

  2. Type Reader Mode in the flags search box reader mode in google chrome

  3. Click Default, switch to Enabled, and Relaunch Chrome when prompted chrome experimental features

READ MORE: How to stop Chrome from saving history on Windows and Mac

Whenever Reader Mode is available, the icon will appear in the address bar (shown above). All you need to do is click the button, and the page will transform for easy reading.

Enable Google Chrome’s hidden reader mode on mobile

viewing simplified pages on chrome app
Image: KnowTechie

READ MORE: How to view and edit saved passwords in Google Chrome

For those of us who prefer to digest content through our smartphones, here’s how to enable Reader Mode in the Chrome mobile app:

  1. Launch Google Chrome and tap the More menu
browser mobile app
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility
accessibility settings on browser
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tick Simplified view for web pages
chrome reader mode on app
Image: KnowTechie

Whenever you visit a compatible page, a prompt will appear asking if you want to switch to a simplified view (shown above). Tapping View when prompted activates the feature.

Why does Google hide its Reader Mode in Chrome?

Locating Reader Mode on most popular browsers doesn’t involve an epic quest into the settings. For some reason, however, Google has decided to hide the feature. Why? Because sometimes epic settings quests are fun.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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