It has been just over a month since the last major Chrome release, and right on schedule, version 75 has arrived on all platforms. The Android version in particular has a few nice improvements, including a feature that was originally teased in 2017. Let's dive right in!
Dark theme update
Chrome 74 brought the first version of the Android app's dark theme, but it has been noticeably improved in v75. First, it doesn't seem to require enabling a flag anymore — the 'Themes' page should be visible in Chrome's settings by default. Chrome 75 also allows you to force the light mode to be on at all times, if you want to override your phone's dark mode.
Left: Chrome 74; Right: Chrome 75
Furthermore, the main complaint about Chrome's dark mode has been addressed — the text on tab titles is finally white, to be readable on the gray background.
Left: Chrome 74; Right: Chrome 75
Despite these improvements, the actual sites themselves don't change colors in dark mode. The prefers-color-scheme CSS media query, which tells sites to change their appearance based on the device theme, isn't coming to Chrome until v76. The mode that inverts page colors also isn't enabled by default, you still have to toggle the #enable-android-web-contents-dark-mode flag.
Google said all the way back in 2017 that Chrome for Android would eventually have a password generator, and now that functionality is finally here. When you tap a password input box, a new password bar will appear at the bottom of the screen. Tapping the key will show you all your saved passwords for the current site, and the 'Suggest strong password' button will automatically create one for you.
It's great to see this functionality finally arrive in Chrome, since using unique randomly-generated passwords helps reduce the amount of damage that sites getting hacked can have on your digital life.
The Web Share API was initially rolled out in Chrome 61, and it gave web pages the ability to share text and URLs to native Android apps for the first time ever. However, web pages still can't share files (like images) using this functionality. Chrome 75 includes support for 'Level 2' of the Web Share API, which solves that problem.
A demo of the existing Web Share API
In a similar process to the existing Web Share API, apps can define a file (or list of files) to share. When a button in the app is clicked/tapped, the Android share dialog appears, just as it would for native applications. For example, an image gallery web app could add a button to share an image file to another app.
The only catch is that while web apps can now send files, they still cannot receive them from other web/native apps. That will come as part of the Level 2 Web Share Target API, which is currently scheduled to arrive in Chrome 76. Still, it's great to see web apps continuing to become first-class citizens on Android.
As always, Chrome 75 includes changes for both users and developers. Here are some smaller features bundled with this update:
- More options for web animations are available to developers, with improvements to the Web Animation API.
- Synchronous network requests when a page is being closed are blocked.
- Web pages can check if your device supports a given sample size, sample rate, latency, and channel count for audio playback.
- The new "overscroll" and "scrollend" events allow web pages to determine when content is being over-scrolled, or when scrolling has finished. This can help create better pull-to-refresh animations, for example.
- Service Workers appear in Chrome's Task Manager.
- The Web Authentication API supports PINs for "keys that implement the FIDO CTAP2 protocol."
- A new feature is in development for freezing iframes (most embedded ads, videos, etc.) when the user scrolls past them.
- The canvas.getContext() method supports a desynchronized hint, which could make web apps that rely on image or video processing a bit quicker.
- Update: The #disable-pull-to-refresh-effect flag has been removed, so pull-to-refresh can no longer be disabled on Chrome. Thanks, Deryk!
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.
Note: Most versions of the Chrome APK use app bundles, which APKMirror doesn't support yet. As a result, only a few variants are available for download.