Skip to main content

How to switch back to classic Google Chrome design

Google Chrome, one of the most popular web browsers, underwent a significant redesign known as “Material You” a few months ago. While some users embraced the changes, others found them unappealing and disruptive to their browsing experience.

If you fall into the latter category and miss the classic Chrome design, there’s good news – you can easily revert to the old layout with a few simple steps. We’ll walk you through the process of switching back to the classic Google Chrome design.

When was the new Google Chrome design implemented?

Google announced the Material You redesign in September, but it took some time for all users to notice the changes. Many users observed the update in December. The alterations included subtle shifts in the placement of tabs, menus, and icons. While not overly invasive, there was a clear change, and some people simply don’t like change.

Switching back to the classic Google Chrome design

If you don’t like the Material You design, you can easily switch back to Chrome’s classic design by following the steps below.

The Chrome refresh 2023 and Chrome versions in list.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
  1. Open a new tab in your Chrome browser and type the following in the address bar: chrome://flags/#chrome-refresh-2023. This will take you directly to the Chrome Flags menu and highlight the option called Chrome Refresh 2023.
  2. Once on the Chrome Flags page, locate the Chrome Refresh 2023 option. From the drop-down menu next to it, select Disabled.
  3. After setting Chrome Refresh 2023 to Disabled, scroll down to the bottom of the Flags page and click the Relaunch button. This will close and reopen your Chrome browser.

Voila! Your Chrome browser will revert to its old design with its familiar layout and appearance. You can navigate through tabs, menus, and icons just like before.

If, for any reason, you decide to embrace the new design or simply want to experiment, you can reverse the process by going back to the Chrome Flags menu and setting Chrome Refresh 2023 back to the default option or Enabled.

While this method currently allows users to enjoy the classic Chrome design, there’s no guarantee that Google won’t disable this setting in the future. It’s advisable to monitor updates and be prepared for potential changes to the browser’s customization options.

Editors' Recommendations

Georgie Peru
Computing Writer
Georgie is a freelance writer for Digital Trends and other tech-based websites. With a degree in Psychology and a Diploma in…
How to change your Google background in Chrome
A man holding a teacup staring at laptop screen.

Google Chrome is fairly plain, but it doesn't need to be. One way to spice it up is by changing the overall look with a new theme. Not only can you change the New Tab background but you can also change the overall colors of your tabs, bookmarks bar, and more.

Read more
Google witness accidentally reveals how much Apple gets for Safari search
The Google "G" logo on an Android phone.

As part of a deal to be the default search engine on Apple devices, Google pays the tech giant 36% of the revenue earned via search ad activity on Apple's Safari browser.

It’s extremely rare for information of this nature to be made public. In this case, it was released during Google’s defense at the Justice Department's antitrust trial in Washington, D.C.

Read more
Chrome is still a RAM killer, but this new feature would be a huge help
Google Chrome icon in mac dock.

Google’s Chrome browser is infamous for consuming a lot of RAM. While recent updates have attempted to solve this problem from a technical side, a new feature may put more of the management in the hands of the user.
With the latest beta version of Chrome Canary, users can now simply hover their mouse cursor over a tab to gain access to real-time memory usage of that specific tab.
Up until now, you had to dig into the Chrome Task Manager to see how much memory each tab is consuming. But as reported by Windows Central, the new feature would give you quick and direct access to this important information. The prototype feature was first posted on X (formerly Twitter) by user Leopeva64 and showed the tab RAM usage.

Of course, it only gives a small overview and doesn’t offer the same detailed information (such as running processes, tabs, and extensions0 as the built-in task manager.
Practically speaking, having a small indicator on the top is going to make the process of clearing unwanted tabs a lot easier. The new feature is also said to inform users about whether Chrome's Memory saver feature has actively frozen a tab to save memory similar to Microsoft Edge's Sleeping tabs feature. Of course, this feature only works when a certain tab is inactive for a long period of time. 
Google is said to be testing this feature, but if you are using version 117 on the Stable Channel, you may get access to it. To enable the memory usage feature, head to Chrome://flags and search for Show memory usage in hovercards. Select the dropdown and enable it. A quick restart may also be required.
Recently, we saw Google testing on a feature that helps organize tabs in a more efficient way. Using the Organize Tabs features, the browser attempts to reorder your tabs into groups of similar pages. It even lets you rename these groups, and create tab groups automatically once it has categorized your tabs.

Read more