How to use Chrome's Recent Tab feature

Transitioning between desktop and mobile life is when you take advantage of the Recent Tabs feature in Chrome.

How to use Chrome's Recent Tab feature

Let's face it, the very reason why you've spent so much money on your phone is so you can continue on with your life once you're away from your computer. That means that you can keep working, stay in constant contact, be social, and even play games. But for IT pros, it mostly means you can move seamlessly between your desktop/laptop to your mobile device without losing a beat. That also means you employ plenty of tools to make this move, from the office to the road, effortless. You employ third-party tools, utilities, and more.

Sometimes the tools you have offer features you might not know about. One such feature is found with Google Chrome. The Recent Tabs feature allows you to pick up where you left off on any browser logged into your Google account. So if you use Google Chrome on your desktop, and you take off for a client call, you can open those very same recent tabs on your mobile device that you worked with on your desktop or laptop.

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The only thing you need to make this happen is Google Chrome on all devices, which are logged into the same account.

How it works

When you log into your Google account on Chrome, it keeps track of everything that you've configured it for. You might notice, in the Sync configuration window, the only tab option is Open Tabs (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A: The desktop version of Google Chrome showing sync options.

That is the option you need to enable for this feature to work. What happens is it keeps that option synced with all versions of Chrome that are logged into your account. Disable Tabs from the sync option, and the feature will not function.

Opening previously viewed tabs

On your mobile device, open Chrome. On the main Chrome window, tap the menu button in the top right corner. From within this menu (Figure B), tap the Recent Tabs entry.

Figure B

Figure B: The mobile Chrome menu.

In the resulting window, you'll see a list of the tabs that you've recently visited in the mobile version of Chrome at the top, followed by all other versions that are synced to your account. There is one caveat to this: If you close an open tab, it will no longer be visible from the recent tab menu.

A way around that

If you don't want to keep those tabs open on your browser at work, yet you still want to view them on the go, that's not a problem. From the recent tabs page in mobile Chrome, tap Show full history. The resulting window will present your recent tab history, be it open or closed (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C: The full tab history on mobile Chrome.

Scroll through that list, find the recent tab you want to view and tap to open it. If you're certain that you don't need to retain the browsing data, you can tap Clear browsing data to start from a clean slate. If you don't want to delete the entire history, you can long-press an entry to select it. Once you select all of the entries to be deleted, tap the trash icon (Figure D), and you're good to go.

Figure D

Figure D: Deleting individual entries in the tab history.

And that's all there is to using Chrome's Recent Tab feature. It's certainly not a deal maker or breaker, but it can definitely make the transition between desktop and mobile life easier.

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Image: Google