This story was originally published and last updated .
Whether you're browsing different sites or buying something online, you likely rely on an autofill system to enter your usernames, passwords, addresses, and payment details so you don't have to manually type that data every time. Google already offers this in Chrome, but the interface is changing and adopting a more modern look that's anchored to your keyboard.
New interface flags
Previously, if you tried to login or buy something in Chrome, this is the UI you were likely to get when you tapped in the text field. A pop-up appeared right on top of or below the box and offered the different login, payment, or shipping address options you've saved with Chrome.
Previous autofill interface was a pop-up near the text field.
Now, a new UI has started showing up for some users by default, but if you don't have it, you can manually enable with these two flags in chrome://flags
- #autofill-keyboard-accessory-view (for passwords)
- #enable-autofill-manual-fallback (for addresses and payment methods)
When turned on, the flags trigger a row on top of the keyboard for autofill, instead of the pop-up. The different options show up as scrolling bubbles in the row, with three icons at the end: a key for logins, a card for payment methods, and a pin drop for addresses.
Left: Flags to manually enable the new UI. Right: Look at the row on top of the keyboard.
For login details, you can scroll through the different saved accounts in the row or tap on the key icon to expand and view all saved usernames and passwords corresponding to the site you're visiting. You'll also find a "Manage passwords" option that takes you to Chrome's password manager.
If you type a new username that's not associated with any saved login, moving to the password field will let Chrome ask if you want it to suggest a strong password. That way you don't have to come up with a safe login detail on your own.
Left: Expanded login details for the current site. Right: "Suggest strong password" when using a new login.
Addresses follow the same pattern: scrolling bubbles of different addresses (if applicable) which get auto-filled by simply selecting one. Tapping on the pin drop expands to show each line separately, so you can quickly paste each element, like city or zip code, on its own.
Left: Autofill bar with the address on top of the keyboard. Right: Expanded view.
The same is true for payment methods. You'll see your saved cards in the row on top of the keyboard and can tap on the icon to expand it and see each detail separately if you need.
Left: Autofill bar with the credit card on top of the keyboard. Right: Expanded view.
Touch to fill UI
In addition to this new keyboard-stacked autofill bar, Chrome is testing a touch-friendly option which is enabled by the flag #touch-to-fill in chrome://flags. When you tap the username entry field of any website, you will get an overlay from the bottom of the screen with your account details. Choose the correct option and it will be filled in automatically. You can also swipe up to reveal the full pop-up with the "Manage passwords" option at the bottom.
This flag doesn't seem to be enabled by default, but it's available on all Chrome releases.
Left: Touch to fill interface. Right: Expanded view.
Currently, there's no real benefit to this new autofill interface over the existing pop-up. All options remain the same, and usability-wise, it takes just as many taps to fill up a password, address, or credit card. The location on top of the keyboard does clean up the page a little, but it may require a bit more finger travel to reach as the details aren't anchored to the text box you just selected. It's also neater and tidier, but shows significantly less information at a glance and requires some swiping if you have several cards, addresses, or accounts on a page.
There's no harm in giving it a try and seeing if you prefer it, so grab any version of Chrome from the links below and enable the flags mentioned above if you don't get the new UI by default.
Rolling out widely
These autofill changes first popped up on our radar in November of 2019, and were part of a limited test for users. ChromeStory spotted them going live for more and more users on Chrome, including the stable release, without any manual fiddling with flags. Indeed, the password one is active for me on my Pixel 4, but the addresses and credit cards one is still defaulting to the old behavior.
So it seems that the Chrome team is gradually server-side flicking the 'default' behavior of the flags to enable them, and that's usually a sign that the feature has been approved and is here to stay.
The above post has been updated to reflect these changes.
- Gurkanwal Singh,
- Tim L