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Android 12 will allow desktop-like multiple Chrome windows

By Roland Udvarlaki August 23, 2021, 9:00 am

Chrome tabs are organized and displayed differently across the platforms, although they all work very similarly on all of them. On Android 12, Google Chrome might bring a desktop-like multi-window experience, allowing you to manage the tabs more efficiently and easier.

Code tagged with “multi-instance” has been submitted to the Chromium Gerrit in the past few weeks, found by XDA-Developers. The changes include a new “new window” button in the context menu whenever the device switches to split-screen mode. When the button is pressed, Chrome will open in a new instance on the other half of the screen, and the button will change to “manage windows”. Currently, you can only open 5 windows in total, although there are no hard limitations on how many tabs can be opened within each window. The state of each window is then stored in the SharedPreferences of Google Chrome, which allows the browser to persist after a restart.


Since every single window is a new instance of Chrome, each window will appear separately in the recent apps overview page on Android. This is similar to the feature that was available in Android 5.0 Lollipop, although it was later removed in Android 6 Marshmallow.


Another code change was submitted today, which enabled the switched flag by default for devices that are currently on Android 12. The new code change also adds a new feature “instance-switcher” flag, that you can enable if you want to try it out and experience it yourself. 

If your device doesn’t yet run Android 12, you can open two Chrome windows side-by-side in split-screen mode, then open the context menu, and select “move to other window”. This will open a new instance of Chrome, although additional windows and tabs will all be merged into a single-window when you exit the split-screen mode.


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