How to Change Chrome Theme on iPhone With Hidden UI Setting

How to Change Chrome Theme on iPhone With Hidden UI Setting

Chrome on iOS is limited in terms of customization when compared to Safari. The theme that Chrome uses is dated and boring. However, a recent Chrome update for iOS has brought radical design changes. The new UI, which includes the much talked-about Material Design changes, is now available. However, it is not the default setting on Chrome and needs to be manually enabled in the browser’s experimental settings panel.

Let’s ditch the current theme for good.

Enabling the Theme

The new Material Design UI, ‘UI Refresh Phase 1,’ is only available on Chrome version 68 (or higher) for iOS. So, update your browser to the latest version via the App Store before proceeding.

To start off, go to Chrome’s experimental settings panel. To do that, type chrome://flags into the URL bar of a new tab, and then press Enter.

On the Chrome Experimental Features screen, type Refresh into the search box. You should see an option labeled UI Refresh Phase 1 appear at the top. Use the pull-down menu next to it, and select Enabled.


To apply the changes, force-quit the app — double-tap the Home button and swipe the Chrome app card upwards. On iPhone X, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to get to the app switcher, and then tap and hold down on the Chrome app card briefly — then tap the red-colored icon.

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Once you’ve force-quit Chrome, relaunch it to check out the browser in all its newfound glory.

Looks different now, doesn’t it?

So, What Has Changed?

A lot has changed. Notice the rounded curves of the search bar, buttons, and icons. They feel modern, larger, and more pronounced. The colors are no longer drab or dull-looking and they really pop out when you open a new tab.

You’ll also see new icons labeled Bookmarks, Reading List, Recent Tabs, and History below your list of frequented sites. This will help you get to those locations faster.

Next, you’ll notice significant changes to the navigation options, now listed at the bottom of the screen. While the URL bar is still at the top, it’s refreshing that you can go back or move forward without reaching all the way to the top.

Furthermore, the position of the URL bar doesn’t matter. You no longer have to tap it to search — just use the new search icon and you’re good to go. It was always uncomfortable using the URL bar, especially when you already have a site loaded, so this addition to Chrome is a major improvement.

Even switching between tabs feels easier — the numbered icon that brings up the tab switcher is now at the lower-right corner of the browser. Tapping it opens up your tabs in thumbnail format — highly reminiscent of the iOS app switcher — instead of the usual drawer, making it easy to locate and select any tab you want.

How to Change Chrome Theme on iPhone With Hidden UI Setting

The tab switcher now allows you to instantly switch to Incognito mode by swiping to the left, and viewing your synced devices can be done by swiping to the right. The Chrome menu has also been visually updated with items displayed in a bluish color and icons next to each listing. Its placement at the lower edge of the screen makes it easily accessible.

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How to Change Chrome Theme on iPhone With Hidden UI Setting

The Settings panel remains unchanged in appearance, as it is still a list of options. This is to be expected, as the UI update is not yet widely available. Similarly, other elements like the History and Bookmarks pane have not changed in their appearance or functionality.

How to Change Chrome Theme on iPhone With Hidden UI Setting

Anything that isn’t immediately visible is likely to resemble the default Chrome theme.

If you use an iPad, you can switch to the new UI using the same procedure. From a basic standpoint, the changes look more prominent due to the desktop-like tabs with rounded edges.

How to Change Chrome Theme on iPhone With Hidden UI Setting

Aside from that, you won’t find any improvements in terms of navigation, unless you use Chrome in split-view mode. In this case, the search and tab switching icons move to the bottom of the screen, just like on iPhone.

So, What are You Waiting For?

Thanks to the new design update, Chrome looks and functions better than ever. The navigation and search options at the bottom of the screen alone make a huge difference, allowing for faster searching and tab-switching.

However, remember that the design is still experimental. At times, you may notice anomalies where web elements won’t render properly. If that hinders your browsing, switch back to the default theme until Google irons out the bugs.

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