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Does Chrome have Reader mode? Yes, here's how to enable it
The web is full of great content to read, but websites can be a bit too distracting. Have you ever wondered if there is a way to simplify text and read without all the extra fluff? There is. Google Chrome has Reader mode.
Reader mode became available with the release of Chrome version 114, which was released to the public on May 24, 2023. Let’s tell you all about it and show you how to use it.
Google Chrome has a Reading mode, also known as Reader mode. This mode essentially gets rid of all the distractions websites usually throw at you, leaving only text visible so you can read more comfortably. This means you won't be able to see things like images, unnecessary menus, videos, and most ads.
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Editor’s note: We used a custom PC running Windows 11, Chrome version 121.0.6167.140, and a Google Pixel 7 running Android 14 to formulate these instructions. Depending on your hardware and software version, some menus and settings may look slightly different.
How to enable and use Reader mode in Chrome
Do you want to give Reader mode a try? You can’t just start using it right away. At least not yet. You will have to enable the feature first. Let’s show you how to do it.
How to enable Chrome Reading mode:
- Launch the Chrome browser.
- Type “chrome://flags/” into your address bar and press Enter.
- Search for the “Reading Mode” flag.
- Next to the Reading Mode option, click on the drop-down menu that says Default.
- Select Enabled.
- Chrome will prompt you to restart the browser. Hit Relaunch to do so.
Reading mode is now ready to use. It’s still a bit of a hidden feature, so you will have to know where to find it.
How to use Reading mode on Chrome:
- Go to the web page you want to use Reading mode with.
- Click on the Side Panel button in the browser’s top-right corner, next to your profile icon.
- Click on the drop-down menu that says Reading list.
- Select Reading mode.
The side panel will display a simplified version of the text within the page you are viewing. You can even navigate to other websites, and Reading mode will adapt to the text you are currently viewing. If the side panel looks too small, you can use the slider to expand it.
Does the Chrome mobile app have Reader mode?
We know many will want to have this feature on mobile, so it makes sense for you to wonder if the mobile version of Google Chrome has Reader mode. Thankfully, it does! The bad news is that the experience is not as seamless as we would wish. You actually have to download a separate app to use it. Let’s take you through the process.
How to use Reading mode on Chrome for Android:
- Download and install the Reading mode app from the Google Play Store.
- Launch the Reading mode app and follow the prompts to set up the app.
- When done, hit Finish. A new floating shortcut will show up as an overlay on your screen.
- Launch Chrome and go to the page you want to view in Reading Mode.
- Tap on the Reading mode floating shortcut. The app will display a simplified version of the page.
- You can also hit the Gear button to change text size, font, colors, and more. The Play button will read the text out loud for you. And the TT icon will help you quickly change the font size.
The mobile Reading mode app will also work on other apps outside of Chrome, which is definitely an excellent addition. It won’t always work, but more support should come in the near future.
By the way, if you find that floating Reading mode button annoying, there is a way to get rid of it. You can change it so that Reading mode is enabled by pressing and holding your volume buttons, instead.
How to change the Reading mode shortcut:
- Launch the Settings app.
- Go into Accessibility.
- Tap on Reading mode.
- Tap on the Reading mode shortcut option. Make sure you tap on the actual text, not the toggle.
- Make sure Hold volume keys is checked, and uncheck the Tap accessibility button. Then hit Save.
- You can now enable Reading mode by simultaneously pressing and holding the volume up and volume down buttons.
Sadly, there is still no way to use Chrome Reading mode on iOS. You can, however, use the Reader mode on Safari. Go to the page you want to use Reader mode on, tap on the AA icon, and select Show Reader.
Chrome Reader mode has some requirements. Regardless of the platform, you will need at least Chrome version 114. In the case of smartphones, the device needs to be running Android 9 or higher.
Chromebooks support Reading mode as long as they’re running at least Chrome OS version 114.