If you're lucky enough to be using Android Lollipop, you've most likely discovered tons of features you love. You may have also uncovered a few features you don't love so much. One such feature is the vanquished Chrome tabs. Instead of tabs living where they should—in the app—they now exist in the application stack of the Overview screen (Figure A).
Chrome tabs displayed on a Verizon-branded Nexus 6.
For some users, this is an okay place to find open tabs. For others, it creates a roulette of chaos that becomes harder and harder to navigate. Fortunately, you're not stuck with that setup. If you want to relegate your Chrome tabs back within the framework of the browser that creates them, I have the solution. It's much simpler than you might expect.
Here's what you do:
- Open up Chrome on your Lollipop-powered device
- Tap on the Settings menu
- Locate and tap the entry for Merge tabs and apps (Figure B)
- In the new window, switch the setting from On to Off
Stripping Chrome tabs from the apps Overview screen.
Tabs will now be placed within a tab switcher in Chrome. To get to this switcher, tap on the square icon (immediately to the left of the menu button in the top right corner). You can now switch between and close tabs in the same manner you did with KitKat.
I find this method of tab switching to be much better than the default, even if for only one reason—with tabs and apps integrated, you have no idea how many Chrome tabs are currently open. For example, when I switched back to the old-school method, I discovered 42 tabs open. That would explain why Chrome was running so slowly. Reverting to the old method clearly indicates how many tabs you have open (a number listed within the square tab icon).
This is one of the few instance I've found where the upgrade from KitKat to Lollipop brought about a downgrade in functionality. Thankfully, the developers saw to it to include the ability to go back to a more useful method.
Have you found other Lollipop features that were not improvements over KitKat? If so, what were they? Let us know in the discussion thread below.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.