How to disable extension sync on Chrome without disabling sync

Chrome sync is a great feature that Google improves constantly. A recent update to Chrome now allows you to send links between connected devices. It’s a great way to keep everything in sync across multiple devices except when it syncs data you don’t want it to. Case in point; extensions. Extensions will sync so that you always have the same ones installed across all your synced Chrome browsers. If you need to selectively disable extension sync on Chrome so that extensions from one instance do not sync to all others, you can. Here’s how.

Disable extension sync

Chrome sync will sync lots of things; passwords, history, auto-fill, extensions, themes, and more. When you open Chrome on a device, it will make sure that everything from extensions to your browsing history is available from all other linked devices however, you can pick and choose what is and isn’t synced.

To stop extensions from an instance of Chrome from being synced to other devices, you need to open Chrome and click the more options button at the top right. From the menu, select Settings. At the very top of the Settings page, you’ll see the sync options. Click ‘Sync and Google services’.

On the next page, click ‘Manage sync’.

The next page will show you switches for the various items that you can enable/disable sync for. Turn off the switch for ‘Extensions’. From this point forward, all activity from the browser will sync to other Chrome installations but extensions will not.

You’re free to install more extensions, remove some of the existing ones, and enable/disable the ones that are installed without worrying about it changing how Chrome is set up on your other devices.

Chrome sync is selective in nature and users have freedom to choose what is synced. The syncing options are grouped and not itemized i.e., you can enable or disable extension sync as a whole but you cannot disable one extension from syncing while allowing all others.

If this doesn’t do the trick for you, you might consider creating different Chrome profiles on the devices that you use Chrome on and making the changes to the extensions on a per-profile bases. The profiles will not sync data between themselves but data from one profile will always be available on other Chrome installations that sync using the same account. If you prefer nothing sync from a particular installation of Chrome, you can always disable sync in it.

Read How to disable extension sync on Chrome without disabling sync by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to send links to connected devices from Chrome

Sharing links between devices isn’t always easy. The only exception is if you’re using an iPhone and a Mac that have a shared clipboard. If you’re on a different desktop OS such as Linux or Windows 10, your ability to share links to another device runs into platform restrictions. Chrome has added a new feature to its stable release that lets you push links to other connected devices. The browser is easily one of the most popular browsers on the desktop and it has mobile versions for both Android and iOS. It’s a great way to share links between the various devices that you own. Here’s how the feature works.

Chrome connected devices

This feature relies on Chrome sync to work. A connected Chrome device is any device that has the Chrome browser installed and that has Chrome sync enabled. All devices must be using the same Google ID to sync data. Chrome sync is available on all versions of Chrome desktop and mobile.

Send links to connected devices – Chrome desktop

Open the link that you want to send in Chrome and right-click in the URL bar. From the context menu, select Send to your devices. Select a device from the sub-menu and then open Chrome on the device.

You will see a notification telling you that you’ve received a new tab. Tap it, and the link will open. On mobile devices, these notifications only appear in Chrome and are not send through the mobile OS’ notification system.

Send links to connected devices – Chrome mobile

On your mobile device, whether it’s Android or iOS, open the link you want to send to a device and tap the share button. A menu will open listing various options once of which will be ‘Send to your devices’. Tap it and then select the device you want to send the link to.

Go to the device that you sent the link to, and you will see an alert/notification (depending on the platform) telling you a link has been sent. If you tap it, it will open the link in a new tab.

If you’re sending links to a desktop via Chrome, the browser must be allowed to send notifications. Unlike its mobile version, the notifications on the desktop are delivered via the desktop OS’ notification system.

Adding new devices is pretty easy; all you have to do is install Chrome on the device and then sign in and enable sync via the same Google ID.

Read How to send links to connected devices from Chrome by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to update saved passwords in Chrome

Chrome has a password suggestion feature, and also a built-in password manager which, if you’re not a fan of services like Lastpass, you might actually use. The passwords in Chrome are saved whenever you login into a website. Chrome offers to save them or you can set it to always save a password. That said, if you update a password or you enter the wrong one but Chrome saves it anyway, you will have to manually edit it. Here’s how you can edit and update saved passwords in Chrome.

Update saved passwords in Chrome

Chrome doesn’t have a very proactive password manager which is why it doesn’t have a simple way to edit or update passwords. The only way to change an incorrect password is to delete the incorrect entry, and then replace it with a correct one.

Open Chrome and click the more options button at the top right. From the menu, select Settings. On the Settings page, click Autofill in the column on the left. Under the Autofill section, click Passwords.

Alternatively, paste the following in the URL bar and tap Enter.

chrome://settings/passwords

You will see a complete list of all the passwords that Chrome has saved. If you want, you can click the little eye icon next to a saved password and view it. You will be prompted to enter your system’s password or PIN to proceed. The passwords here can only be viewed and not edited. As we said before, removing them is the only option. Click the more options button next to a saved password that you want to update and select ‘Remove’ from the menu.

The password will be removed. No authentication is required to remove a password.

Once the password has been removed, navigate to the website that it was for. If you’re signed in, sign out and then sign in again. When you sign in again, Chrome will offer to save the new login credentials.

Password editing isn’t a complex feature and many stand alone password managers allow you to edit passwords without having to create an entry for them all over again. The reason behind why Chrome doesn’t offer something similar may have to do with security. The Autofill data is synced with your Chrome profile and allowing it to be changed means that someone might be able to change the data with the right tools. It’s a small possibility but it’s there nevertheless which is why it’s probably best to just make sure the data can’t be edited at all.

Read How to update saved passwords in Chrome by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to create a keyboard shortcut for Chrome pages

Chrome’s internal pages don’t all have keyboard shortcuts  associated with them. You can open the Downloads page with the Ctrl+J keyboard shortcut, the History page with Ctrl+H, and  that’s about it. There are other internal pages that you might need to access with a keyboard shortcut. You might be able to get an extension for the job but there’s an internal feature that you can use to open Chrome internal pages with a keyboard shortcut.

Keyboard shortcut for Chrome pages

Open Chrome and click the more options button at the top right. From the menu, select Settings. Scroll down to the Search Engines section, or select it from the left. Under Search Engines, you’ll find the ‘Manage search engines’ option there. Click it.

On the page that lists the various search engines, click the Add button. You’ll get the following box.

In the name field, enter the name of the Chrome page you want to access. In the keyword field, enter the first few letters, or just the one letter that you want to use to access the page.

In the URL field, enter the address of the Chrome page. To get the address, visit the page in Chrome and copy the URL. That’s what goes there. Click Add.

The Chrome page now exists as a search engine. You now need to access it. To do that, click inside the URL bar and enter the letter or letters you set as the keyword for the page. Tap the Tab key, and then tap Enter. It will take you to the Chrome page.

This isn’t the same as, e.g., using Ctrl+E to access the Chrome extensions’ page but out of the box, and without an extension this is what works. With Chrome, you want to keep your extensions limited to what is absolutely necessary because they tend to drag down the browser’s performance. If you factor in the fact that Chrome already uses a lot of RAM, you won’t want to install extensions when you can avoid them.

That said, if you still want a simpler way to create keyboard shortcuts for Chrome page, you’re going to have to look for extensions to do the job and they’re going to have to be installed for almost all the pages you want to access. That’s going to add up which is why the above trick is better. If you find an extension that lets you create custom keyboard shortcuts for various URLs, then just the one will do the job.

Read How to create a keyboard shortcut for Chrome pages by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to enable Flash player in Chrome

If you use Chrome as your default browser, it may have shown you a message telling you Flash is going to be discontinued in December 2020 which, technically, is a good year away. Still, the warning comes with a little button that lets you disable Flash right away. If you clicked it and are interested in using Flash for the rest of its lifespan, you can enable it again fairly easily.

Flash player in Chrome

Enabling Flash in Chrome is fairly easy. Open the browser and click the more options button at the top right. From the menu, select Settings. On the Settings page, scroll to the end and click Advanced. Click ‘Site Settings’.

Go through the various settings for websites and you will find Flash. Click it and on the Flash screen, turn the switch On.

This will enable Flash however, it will still not run automatically when a website needs it to. Although Flash is enabled in Chrome, it runs on a need-to-run only basis. This means that when you encounter a website that needs to run Flash, you will still see the ‘Adobe Flash Player is blocked’ message where the flash content is supposed to play.

To get it to play, click the little pad lock icon in the URL bar. In the menu that opens,  you will see a Flash option with a dropdown next to it. Open it, and select Allow. The page will reload automatically. If it doesn’t, go ahead and refresh it yourself. When the page reloads, the Flash based content will play.

What happens in December 2020?

December 2020 is, at the time of writing, a good 17 months away. That’s over a year. Anyone who is still running Flash content on a website is going to have to update it to use something else. YouTube used to run on Flash too but it has long since switched over to HTML5.

Not all flash content, especially the games, can just be moved to HTML5. The content that can be ported over to HTML5 will take time and it’s really on its last leg if the most popular web browser is now showing prompts to disable it.

For websites that do not update their content, they likely will no longer work after the deadline. It’s not even a browser limitation once the deadline passes. Flash is going to be discontinued. Any hacks to get around it will be unsafe and they will expire soon.

Read How to enable Flash player in Chrome by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter