Sometimes I take on some pretty intense questions for Lifehacker’s weekly Tech 911 Q&A column—hacking this, security that, why-is-there-porn-on-my-device kinds of things. Real monumental stuff. This week, I’m going to lighten the tone a bit by helping a reader with an Android annoyance, one that you might have questioned yourself from time to time.
Lifehacker reader Loretta writes:
Thank you for the great tips on Tech 911! Here’s my question …. Why can I go BACK on my Android smartphone, but NOT forward to a site I went BACK from and want to return. Instead I have to retype the whole thing again.
Ah, Chrome. So, for whatever reason, Google has decided that placing a dedicated “back” button in a very obvious position within Android’s UI is a much more important use of the space than devoting any pixels to its companion, the mighty “forward” button. (At least, on Android.)
To be honest, I can’t blame them. I jump around web pages all day long, but I generally find myself going back much more than I ever need to go forward. After all, when you go back in the breadcrumb path that is your web session, you can always “go forward” again by simply clicking or tapping on the link you previously hit. You then go back to site you were just viewing. Though, admittedly, this is a bit more of a pain in the ass if using a “back” button, swipe, or shortcut takes you back to the start of a webpage, and you then have to hunt around to find the link that took you to wherever you were.
Regardless, this is clearly annoying for you to deal with, so I have a few solutions. First, and foremost, here’s where you’ll find the forward button in Android’s Chrome app. Simply tap on the triple-dot icon in the upper-right corner of the browser. Look for the forward-pointing arrow—you can’t miss it.
I’ll do you one better, though. Enter chrome://flags into your browser’s address bar and do a search for the word “history.” In the results, look for the option called, “Overscroll history navigation.”
Enable it, restart your browser, and you should now be able to swipe from the extreme left and right sides of Chrome’s browser window to go back and forward. I think that’ll be even faster for you than tapping on a button (or a series of buttons), though I do wish that Chrome had a simple setting to drop a forward-facing arrow in the bottom-right corner of the browser for those that want it.
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