How to Fix: Remove Chrome Reading List

John Lister's picture

Google has added a "Reading List" feature to Chrome that works a little like a second set of bookmarks. The feature may not be for everyone, and with a little effort it can be removed with some tweaking under the hood.

The Reading List feature has been in the work for some time, originally developed under the name "Read Later", but is now available to all users since the latest Chrome update, version 89. (Source:

The idea is to let user differentiate between pages they want to bookmark permanently (such as regularly visited websites) and articles they want to read later on, even if there is no Internet access. The Reading List is an especially helpful tool if you plan to go on vacation, want to read some articles later, and don't have Internet access.

Some Chrome Buttons Moved Around

The option to read articles offline is hardly an insolvable problem and there may be better solutions. For example, Amazon offers a "Send to Kindle" extension that lets users send the content of a web page (minus any navigation menus and ads) to a Kindle device.

While nobody is being forced to use "Reading List", the way it's implemented may be annoying to some. Currently, the only way to add items to the Reading List is to click on the bookmark icon (the star icon) in the address bar. In doing so, you will be presented with two separate options for adding the page as a bookmark or adding it to the Reading List.

The Reading List button now appears in place of where the "Other bookmarks" button used to appear on the right of the bookmarks bar. The "Other bookmarks" option is still available, but the button has been moved over.

Neither of these options is a disaster, but posts online suggest that it is annoying to some due to the change in layout.

How to Remove Chrome Reading List

Currently there's no option in the Chrome Settings menu to remove the Reading List feature. However, it is possible to modify the internal workings of Chrome in order to switch it off using the "Flags" feature. This is labeled as an "experimental" section of Chrome and allows users to enable or disable a range of features in the browser, including some still in development.

To remove Chrome Reading List, do the following:

  1. In the address bar, highlight the text below:

  2. Right click over the above text and select "Copy" from the dialogue menu.
  3. Press CTRL+T to open a new Chrome tab.
  4. Erase everything in the web address bar in the new Chrome tab (if applicable).
  5. Next, right click in the web address bar and select Paste from the dialogue menu. The text you copied in Step #1 should output into the field. Press Enter on the keyboard to execute.
  6. Chrome will automatically put you next to the heading "Reading List". To the right of that is a dropdown menu; click the option that reads "Default" and switch the option to "Disabled."
  7. Restart Chrome to apply the changes.

What's Your Opinion?

Had you noticed the new feature? Is it useful to you? Should Google have added it by default or kept is as an opt-in tool?

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Average: 5 (6 votes)


doulosg's picture

This sounds like a very useful feature; thanks for pointing it out!

But I can understand the issue some would have. I have a long list of bookmarks and I like to manage where they drop off into the overflow (what you're calling 'other' bookmarks). I have shortened the text on most bookmarks to only a few characters. It would be helpful to shorten "Reading list" to "RL" or "R" or even null (just the icon).

I do think that ANY new "usability" feature should be introduced with the ability to adjust it and/or turn it off. I detest the arrogance of developers who think they know what is helpful to the whole world.

And from a design standpoint, I think Google screwed up. The star in the address bar now lets you add a page to either Bookmarks or Reading List. If you want to see all your Bookmarks, you open the (3-dot) menu and select Bookmarks. Why isn't Reading List access there? Or why not put an icon where chrome already has its icons: to the right of the address bar. Or, give the user the option. See the previous paragraph!

Now tell us about Tote, which seems to be some sort of a visible clipboard, presumably released in v.89 as well.

buzzallnight's picture

And Chrome's is just crap!
Don't want tabs at all, just windows, how do you shut them off?
Fly out menus are terrible.
And just to show what a half baked, tacky, POS chrome is
they can't even design a menu driven "control panel" for it!

But hey, we are all programmers, right?
and we love screwing around with flags in unfinished software....

dkingsbo_10494's picture

Do this to eliminate tab groups:



Set to "tab groups disabled", "tab grid layout disabled"

The browser restarts.

That should work.