Google Chrome Desktop Browser – How To Hide Tab Search Icon

Article Updated: 28 May 2021

Update: In Chrome 91.0.4472.77 this flag is no longer available (too soon?) and there is no way to restore it apparently — read this comment below to find out what can you do now. Sorry! 😥

Recent Google Chrome browser version introduced several User Interface (UI) changes which may be distracting to some users, at least, once they get used to them. However, there is an easy way to disable them and revert old look and feel back!

Google Chrome Desktop Browser – How To Hide Tab Search Icon

Latest Google Chrome version 89.0 introduced yet another revolutionary feature: a Tab Search icon (which also doubles as Recently Closed Tabs function already available under 3-dots Menu > History, plus Quick Close Tab control) located to the right side of the all opened tabs.

As a reminder, we already wrote about newest Reading List feature few days ago.

Search Tabs feature is, however, extremely useful to quickly locate a particular tab in case you have tens or hundreds tabs open. However, it may also create additional unnecessary clutter and distraction if you don’t. Another issue is the fact that Chrome’s Settings page (chrome://settings in URL format, learn more here) seriously lacks the option to disable it as per personal preference.

Chrome devs should really think about providing better customization of the best and most popular browser in the world!

Google Chrome Logo

Google Chrome Logo

Thankfully, for the moment, there is a hidden flag that you can use instead, but for how long will devs feel generous to provide it remains to be seen.

Google Chrome Tab Search

Google Chrome Tab Search

How To Hide Tab Search Icon in Google Chrome Browser?

  1. Start Google Chrome browser
  2. Type (or Copy/Paste) chrome://flags into search/address bar (omnibox) + press ENTER key
  3. Special page will open. Type Tab Search into Search flags box
  4. Option about Tab Search will be shown – select Disabled from the right drop-down button menu
  5. Relaunch Chrome. Tab Search is gone!
Google Chrome - Tab Search Flag Setting

Google Chrome – Tab Search Flag Setting

Here’s the comparison between the two:

Google Chrome - Tab Search Enabled vs Tab Search Disabled - Comparison

Google Chrome – Tab Search Enabled vs Tab Search Disabled – Comparison

Tab Search flag set to disabled will provide few extra pixels for the tabs space, but not much. The reserved space between tabs and app window control buttons is probably to avoid accidental app minimization.

Btw. there are two additional related flags you can experiment with:

  • Scrollable TabStrip
  • Scrollable TabStrip Buttons

NOTE: As we have wrote about Google Chrome Flags before, keep in mind that these options are provided temporarily, there is no guarantee that they will remain in the very next Chrome browser update. Enjoy while you can!

Watch Video Guide:

Comments


  1. comments

    15 Comments

    Add Your Comment
  2. 1. Renlid

    Well… It does hide the icon, but it keeps stealing some precious space in the tabs list.

    When will this multi-billion company find some time and money to allow for multiline tabs and also to hide the close tab button? (because most users do have a middle mouse button and would like to remove that useless close button…)

    Chrome is really lacking, UX-wise…

  3. 2. TehnoBlog (In reply to Renlid)

    Hi, we’ve compared the tabs space, there is some additional space gain, check comparison screenshot in the updated article.

  4. 3. Mel B

    It’s not longer available to disable (may 2021)

  5. 4. TehnoBlog (In reply to Mel B)

    Yeah, they removed this flag completely.

    Even if we enable Temporarily unexpire M90 flags option in the Flags page first, the option is still missing, so it’s definitely gone away for good.

  6. 5. Elizabeth G

    Hi, we need this disabled because we use this shortcut in another program that has to use CHROME. We have had it disabled in the past and it popped back up today. I see you all say it is gone but it is still there for us and I cannot find another way to disable it.

  7. 6. TehnoBlog (In reply to Elizabeth G)

    Hi, Elizabeth,

    If this feature interferes with your workflow and other programs, you can post an issue on Google Chrome Community board:

    https://support.google.com/chrome/community

    Alternatively, if you think that this latest change causes a bug or interferes with something else in unusual way, you may report a Chrome bug here:

    https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/list

  8. 7. Guest (In reply to TehnoBlog)

    Thank you; we will!

  9. 8. Guest

    Does not work as of today. How can we disable it? Tab Hover Card Images is not disappearing too even when its disabled.

  10. 9. Guest

    Yet another completely needless, unwanted garbage update by the m****s at google……clunky, blocky, dumbed down tabletized GARBAGE!!!

  11. 10. Kevin

    This is untrue; in the latest update, there is NO SUCH FLAG TO TURN OF ‘ENABLE TAB SEARCH’;

  12. 11. TehnoBlog (In reply to Kevin)

    Yes, unfortunately, as stated in the outlined update box at the beginning of the article.

  13. 12. RainerWinkler1510

    Is there a solution for the missing flag yet?

  14. 13. TehnoBlog (In reply to RainerWinkler1510)

    No, sorry.

  15. 14. em

    nothing shows up when I type in Tab Search in the flags area…

  16. 15. TehnoBlog (In reply to em)

    That’s because this feature is now permanent, and cannot be disabled / changed.


    There are many feature requests about Tab Search by the community to Chrome Devs, most popular one is here:

    https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=1215708

    (you can sign in with Google / Gmail account and post your opinion to Chrome developers there, if enough people keeps asking for it, they might return it back)

    *

    Related (but not the same) issue is currently present on mobile Chrome for Android (iOS / iPhone & iPad are most likely next) about tab grouping; a popular one can be found here:

    https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=1214806

    (again, your support can also be helpful in this case, go on, sign in with Gmail account and post your opinion, star the issue to get notified via email, etc.)

    *

    However, from our experience, feature requests don’t “do well” in case of Chrome. It’s a bit of a shame that most popular browser on the planet, ironically, has the least amount of built-in power user customizations, many of which you cannot change, even with extensions and themes.

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