How to get a touch of Android 12 'Material You' design in Chrome today

Android 12
(Image credit: Google)

Last week, Google unveiled the Android 12 beta, which features a major visual overhaul of Android that Google calls "Material You." 

If your phone doesn't support the Android 12 beta, or you don't want to risk running a beta OS update on your phone, you can still get a small taste of Material You on Chrome for Android (via Android Police).

Just like turning off the grid layout on Android Chrome, this can't be achieved with a settings option; you need to pay a brief visit to the Chrome flags interface. Don't worry though, this is quick and easy if you just follow these instructions. 

Before we start, those who have followed our instructions to disable the tab grid layout on Chrome for Android may have trouble as the Material You feature seems to break that function, so don't proceed unless you are willing to give up the card-based tabs. I'll update this solution if I find a solution to enabling both.

  • Open Chrome.
  • In the URL bar type: chrome://flags/#theme-refactor-android
  • Select "Enabled" in the drop-down menu.
  • Tap "Relaunch" at the bottom of the screen.
  • Close and open Chrome again.

How to get Material You look on Chrome for Android

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

That's it, you now have a small piece of Material You design in Chrome on Android. It's so small in fact that you might have missed it. The change is to the overflow menu, the three horizontal dots in the upper-right corner of Chrome. Tap on that button and you will see that the menu now has rounded corners — one of the defining characteristics of Material You. 

It's a small detail, but if you want the Material You update without risking the Android 12 beta then this is your best bet. If you don't mind living vicariously through us instead, you can check out our full Android 12 beta impressions for a deeper look at our experience with Material You in the Android 12 beta.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.