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How to switch back to classic Google Chrome design

In September 2023, Google unveiled a major redesign for Google Chrome, aligning it more closely with its “Material You” design philosophy. This design is already familiar to those who use Android smartphones or other Google services.

While the announcement was made in September, the rollout of these design updates was gradual. For example, Tom’s Hardware reported receiving the update in December, while I received it around the end of November.

I like the “Material You” tile design better than the classic Chrome look, but not all users are happy with these changes. The good news is that Google, as usual, provides “loopholes” for those who aren’t keen on the new design. You can revert it using “flags” in Chrome.

How to get back old design in Google Chrome

To revert the 2023 Chrome redesign, you can use “flags,” which are experimental features in the Chrome browser. You can access these flags by typing a special URL into your browser’s address bar. Besides changing the design back, there are many other interesting options, such as enabling Force Dark Mode. If you want to return to the old design, disable the “Chrome Refresh 2023” flag. Here’s the process to do it:

  • Open Chrome on your PC or Mac.
  • Type “chrome://flags/” into the address bar.
  • There is a search bar at the top of the page. Look for the “Chrome Refresh 2023” flag.
  • Next to the flag, click the drop-down button and select “Disable.”
  • Restart Google Chrome to apply the changes.

By following these steps, you can revert to Google Chrome’s old design. Just a heads-up: save any work open in other tabs because you’ll need to restart the browser for the changes to take effect. It’s also worth noting that while flags are accessible on Android or iOS, the option to switch back to the old design is only available in the Desktop version of Chrome.

That said, I personally recommend adapting to the new Google Chrome design. Google will likely eventually remove this flag in a future update, rendering this workaround obsolete. Embracing the new design now might be a good way to stay ahead of the curve and get comfortable with the inevitable changes to our familiar Google Chrome.



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