How to close the Chrome Downloads bar with a hotkey

Chrome’s download bar is an odd element of the browser’s UI which otherwise focuses on being minimal. It appears when you download a file, and sticks around even after the download is complete. You can close it by clicking the close button but that is something that annoys users since there’s no hotkey to do the trick. You can hide the Chrome Downloads bar if you want, but if you really prefer to close the Chrome Downloads bar, an extension called Close download bar will let you do it with a hotkey.

Ideally, Chrome users would prefer the Downloads bar dismiss itself when a download is complete. Unfortunately, Google is not interested in adding this feature any time soon and extensions aren’t able to do the job either. This is possibly because Google blocks it which is why a hotkey to close the Chrome Downloads bar is our best option.

Close Chrome Downloads bar

Download Close download bar from the Chrome Web Store.

When the downloads bar appears, tap the Alt+W and it will close the Downloads bar. You can tap the hotkey any time you want, even if a file or multiple files are downloading since that is the default behavior of the Downloads bar.

Close download bar doesn’t have a lot of options however, it does let you change the hotkey that you use to close the Chrome Downloads bar. To change the hotkey, right-click the extension’s icon and select Options from the context menu.

It will take you to the extension’s Chrome page with the a pop up that lets you change the hotkey. Click the Change option and record the new hotkey that you want to use. Record it for the ‘Close download bar’ option and not for the ‘Activate the extension’ option.

Users have wanted a way to auto-dismiss the Downloads bar for a long time. In fact, if you check Google’s product forums, you find users regularly asking for ways to do this over the past few years. Google and Chrome’s product team don’t really offer explanations as to why this isn’t something they might consider so users are stuck with what they have.

Firefox does this much better than Chrome. Instead of an entire bar at the bottom, it has a little button next to the URL bar which, when clicked, reveals the downloaded files. You can mimic this in Chrome with an extension called Download Manager which disables the Downloads bar.

Read How to close the Chrome Downloads bar with a hotkey by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to play classic Minecraft in a browser

Minecraft turned 10 this year and in celebration, Mojang not only offered a reasonable discount for the game which is something that never happens, but also released classic Minecraft for free. Classic Minecraft is Minecraft when it was first developed. It was basic, to say the least. You had very few blocks to build with and, unfortunately, no evil mobs to fight off. Here’s how you can play classic Minecrafft in a browser.

Play Classic Minecraft

Classic Minecraft has limitations, as you can guess. For one, you cannot save a game, you can’t use your usual Minecraft/Mojang/Microsoft account to login, you cannot join any existing server games, and basically anything to do with your main account will not work with it.

You need a fairly modern browser for this. Chrome and Firefox will do. You need a keyboard and a mouse to play. Even if you have a game controller connected to your system, it will not work with the game.

You can play together with up to nine players, and you can have a small, medium, or huge map to play on. Visit this page, and it will generate a new game for you. Enter a nickname for yourself. The game will give you a link that you can share with your friends and invite them to play the same game.

You get a brief overview of the controls and since they’re basic, there isn’t much for you to learn. There are no tools so items all ‘break’ with one click, and are similarly placed with another.

The WASD keys are used for movement, the Spacebar for jumping, and F for toggling fog.

While this isn’t going to take as much toll on your system as the actual game played as a desktop app, it’s still going to consume lots of RAM through your browser. It’s a good idea to make sure nothing on your system is consuming too much RAM. Close other tabs when you play.

We’ll be honest; this isn’t a super-immersive experience. You won’t be playing for hours. It’s a bit of nostalgia which is good in moderation. You’re basically playing the game in creative mode; you can build what you want with whatever blocks are available to you. If your friends join in, you can build together.

If you initiate a game, and leave it when there are no other players in the game, the game will be lost/end. If there are other players in the game, you can rejoin it by visiting its link.

Read How to play classic Minecraft in a browser by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to increase text size in Chrome without zoom

Chrome has a zoom feature which can zoom in on an entire website. The feature works for entire domains which means once you zoom in on a website, all other pages you access will also be zoomed in. The problem with this feature is that it doesn’t always work well. Often, you end up with overlapping elements. Images, ads, headings, and iFrames don’t play nice with the feature. If you use zoom just to get larger text, you should know you can easily increase text size in Chrome without Zoom.

Increase text size in Chrome

In order to increase text size in Chrome, you need to install an extension called Advanced Font Settings. This extension has not been developed by Google however, Chrome does recommend that you use it under the Appearance settings. Install Advanced Font Settings, right-click its icon next to the URL bar, and select ‘Options’ from the menu.

The extension’s options not only let you change the font size but also change the font that is used. You have three different font sizes to customize; the proportional font size, the size of fixed width fonts (whenever used by a website), and the minimum font size. Change it to whatever you want and then click the Apply button at the bottom.

The font size will update for all websites including the Chrome settings pages. It doesn’t change the font size for the tabs which is a shame.

This trick might still lead to text overlapping, especially if you select a particularly large font size however, other elements won’t overlap each other. As you can imagine, images, ads, buttons, iframes, etc., are more of a problem when they overlap then text.

You can set the zoom to zero and the font will still be larger.

On its own Chrome lets you choose the size of font with far more restrictions. You can make it small, very small, large, or very large. The default is set to Medium and is also the recommended font size.

You can try the default options first but they may still result in overlapping text. This is an unfortunate side-effect of changing the font size. Websites are built with a wide range pf displays and their resolutions in mind. They’re meant to display correctly even if you have a low or high resolution however, it does reach its limit. When that limit is crossed i.e., when the font size is set abnormally high, text overlaps.

Read How to increase text size in Chrome without zoom by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to reduce Chrome RAM usage

Chrome used to be the best browser in the market. The reason its market share quickly grew and that of Internet Explorer shrank was because Chrome was light, it was fast, and it had a clean interface. Today, only that last bit holds true. The browser has become something of a RAM sponge and people consider switching to Firefox which has improved a great deal over the years. The only problem is, Chrome is a difficult browser to quit. If you’re unable to force yourself to use a different browser but would like to reduce Chrome RAM usage, you’re going to have to use an extension called Tab Suspender.

Reduce Chrome RAM usage

If you leave Chrome open with just one or two tabs, it will still end up consuming quite a bit of RAM. The tabs may not even have anything open that requires more RAM but the browser will still consume too much of it.

The screenshot below is for a Chrome instance with only two tabs open, one of which is a Chrome Web Store page. Though it’s not consuming the outrageous amount of RAM most people get, it’s still a bit too much for what is open in Chrome.

To ‘fix’ this, you need to install an extension called Tab Suspender. This extension basically suspends a tab that isn’t actively being used.

Install Tab Suspender. When you install it, it will take your through basic configuration which allows you to set the criteria for suspending tabs. It can suspend them after a period of inactivity which you decide when the extension is set up. It can also suspend them if it deems that you’re not using a tab any more though you have to opt-in for this type of suspension.

Last, you can also suspend a tab any time you want from the extension’s button next to the URL bar.

Tab suspension basically unloads a tab. For the most part, this is a good way to save on RAM. The tab is reloaded automatically when you visit it so you’re not losing the URL you had open. There is one shortcoming with this. If a tab is suspended, and it happens to contain unsaved e.g., an unsaved document or email draft, it is possible that the data will be lost.

If you’re working with Google Docs or Gmail, your data is saved automatically but not all services auto-save. In this case, you can whitelist the tab so that it isn’t suspended.

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How to automatically delete Google account data

Google is rather omnipresent; it owns the most popular search engine, it owns the most popular web browser (Chrome), it owns the most popular email service (Gmail), it owns the most popular video sharing website (YouTube), and then there’s Google Maps. Between these services, Google has a lot of your data; where you go, what you search for, what you watch, and who you talk to. It keeps all your data until you delete it but as of a recent change, you can automatically delete Google account data after 3 or 18 months. Here’s how.

Automatically delete Google account data

This feature is available for both Google and G Suite accounts.

Visit this link in your preferred browser. Sign in to your Google account if you aren’t already signed in. This will take you to the Activity Controls page. Click the Manage Activity option.

On the next screen, look for and click Web & App activity. Under it, you will see that your web and app activity is being tracked and by default it is set to save until you delete it yourself. Under this option, you will see a new one called “Choose to delete automatically”. Click it.

You will see a pop up that gives you two options for automatically deleting your data. The options are for deleting data after 18 months, and after 3 months. Those are the only two options there are. Select one to automatically delete Google data.

It seems Google would like to keep your data for at least 3 months. The data is needed to suggest content, among other things. You do have the option to delete it manually and if you want, you can do it everyday. It’s tedious to say the least but if you don’t want any of the data to stay with Google too long, this is your only option.

You can do this in your browser, or from the Google app on your Android. Go to the Settings screen and look under Privacy. For some reason, this same feature isn’t available on the Google for iOS app. It will likely roll out to the app but it will take quite a while.

If you don’t see this option under your Google Web & App activity section, give it a few days, or weeks. Google announced this feature on May 1, 2019 and some users were able to use it right away. For others, the feature is still rolling out.

Read How to automatically delete Google account data by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter