Chrome – Revert new tab page behavior in Google Chrome 29+

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I don’t like the behavior of the new tab page in Google Chrome 29+. How can I restore the old behavior?

The new tab page (if you have Google set as the default search engine) now shows the Google logo (or, apparently, the doodle of the day if there is one), a search box, and a few recently visited websites. It also added an Apps button to my favorites bar, seemingly the only way to access my apps page, which has easy access to things I use regularly (Calendar, Gmail, Docs, G+, Facebook, Feedly, Google News, Netflix, Play Music, Pandora, Drive, Keep, etc.) I don’t like this behavior. I actually don’t mind having the logo of the day and search box, but I want my apps linked to on my new tab page.

Is there any way to get the old behavior back? I checked the settings and it doesn’t seem like it’s possible to set chrome://apps to be the new tab page (which would restore the old behavior) or to configure the new new tab page to display apps instead of recently visited sites.

Best Answer

Please note: This solution no longer works as many of the features mentioned have been removed by the Chrome developers. It will be kept for posterity, but is no longer guaranteed to work as intended.


Update January 29, 2014: As of Google Chrome stable Version 32.0.1700.102 m this flag still appears to exist. chrome-internal://newtab does not appear to exist. chrome://apps still exists.

Update Feburary 21, 2014 As of Google Chrome stable Version 33.0.1750.117 m this flag appears to no longer exist. chrome://apps appears to still work. chrome://newtab directs users to the new newtab page.


To disable this feature, go to:

chrome://flags/

And hit Ctrl+F. Search for "Enable Instant Extended API". Click disabled in the dropdown below it, then click relaunch now. This should disable the new tab page. Change the flag to enabled if you'd like to re-enable it at any time.

Edit: Here's the flag:

chrome://flags/#enable-instant-extended-api

Thanks, Jim Bergman.


Other possible solutions

  • Please see either drzaus's answer or niutech's answer for possible solutions involving Google Chrome extensions and other dark magic. New Tab Reloaded (Extended) is currently the only extension that fully restores the old New Tab Page, though "Recently closed" and "Other devices" are only available in development versions of Chrome, which may be unstable.

  • Rob Cooper has posted a work around with some more details about how to get rid of the annoying search engine on the new tab page in Google Chrome. Please see his answer for more details.