Chrome OS’s new tablet mode is a lot more like Android (and the iPad)

Navigate your tablet like it's a phone.

Credit: Christopher Hebert/IDG

Many updates have come since Chrome OS introduced a proper tablet mode for convertibles with version 70, and while Google has certainly refined the system, it’s done little to fix its core navigation issues. The main problem: It’s kind of confusing. But the next Chrome OS update will go a long way to fix that.

With the upcoming version 81, Google is bringing a new way to navigate when you’re not using the trackpad. It’s similar to both Apple’s new gestures on the iPad Pro and the latest Android 10 navigation with three main components:

Swipe from the bottom of the screen to get to the home screen. Currently, you need to bring up the shelf and use the button on the far left or minimize your current window to return to the home screen.

Swipe up from the bottom of your screen and hold to get to your recent apps. This is exactly the way it works on Android and a smart change. As it stands, recent apps can be found by tapping the Switch window button on the right side of the shelf.

Swipe from the left side of the screen to go back to the previous page. While some apps work with a back gesture in Chrome OS (like Chrome, for instance), this will bring a system-wide gesture that takes the guesswork out of it.

pixel slate pixelbook tablet Michael Simon/IDG

Tablet mode in Chrome OS is getting some big navigation changes this week.

There’s also a new Quick shelf that’s accessible via a quick swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Also, picture-in-picture mode will now work for all Play Store apps, rather than just Chrome and Netflix. And finally, a new “a touch-friendly tab strip while in tablet mode” will let you see you navigate your open Chrome tabs easier.

While Google had previously paused Chrome OS updates due to the coronavirus outbreak, it has announced that it will be resuming updates this week, so the update should be arriving shortly. Chrome’s new tab strip, however, will take longer, debuting on the Lenovo Chromebook Duo with “the next couple of months,” followed by a wider rollout to existing Chromebooks.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Michael Simon

Michael Simon

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?