Google Chrome is undeniably the most popular browser app on just about any platform. And that’s because it doesn’t quite function just like every other app in the segment. But that’s not always a good thing. For instance, if you’re looking for a home button or for how to customize it to a specific home site in Google Chrome, you likely won’t find it.
That boils down to the fact that Google simply hasn’t included one. At the very least, not by default. But you can, in fact, turn on and set a home button in Google Chrome to any site you like. And that’s just what this guide sets out to explain.
Google Chrome used to have a home button and you may still find it useful
Now, Google Chrome did previously include a Home icon and button in the navigation pane. The button was removed in favor of simply sending users to the New Tab Page via the associated UI several years back. It’s also still present, at the top-left-hand side of the navigation bar UI on mobile.
Of course, most users likely don’t mind the missing feature on desktop, as evidenced by Chrome’s placement among the best current browsers. But some absolutely do. After all, a Home button can be a useful browser feature to have. Just as any shortcut can be.
Not least of all, that’s because — in most browsers — the home button can be customized. Specifically, so that it opens up whatever page you’d like it to open. Google has set the button to return users back to its New Tab page in Chrome. But that can be changed. So it is possible to set your most used page as the primary home page.
That means, in turn, that whether you’re using Chrome for work or play, getting to the site you’ll likely need most is a one-tap or one-click affair. All without having to utilize the bookmark bar or type in a URL.
Get your home button back in Google Chrome
The first step in customizing your home button, however, is going to be getting the button back in Chrome. Google hasn’t necessarily made that the most intuitive process ever. But it is a relatively easy one as long as you know where to look.
- Open up Google Chrome on a Windows, Mac, Linux, or Chrome OS laptop or desktop computer. Conversely, if you already have a window open, you can start by navigating to a new tab
- Tap or click on the three-dot overflow menu icon at the top-right-hand side of the Chrome UI. The icon is near-impossible to miss, with three dots aligned vertically just below the window control UI
- In the resulting menu, select the “Settings” option. That will be located in the final segment of the menu, as the second-to-last entry in the list of options
- Now, there are two options to find the menu we’re looking for within Settings. You can either tap on the “Appearance” option in the left-hand side panel. Or, conversely, you can type the words “show home button” in the search bar at the top of the page
- In the Appearance sub-menu, an option is shown labeled “Show home button.” It’s the second option in the menu. This will also be the highlighted menu if you’ve opted to search for the setting instead. Tap or click on the toggle next to the “Show Home button” option to turn the home button back on. Google disables it by default
- Now, Google Chrome should feature a house-shaped home icon in the navigation pane. That’s the set of icons located to the left-hand side of the URL Omnibox, which was previously occupied by back and forward arrows. As well as a circle-arrow-shaped refresh icon. The new home icon is on the right-hand side of the refresh icon
Set a home page you’ll actually use
Now that you have a home button in Google Chrome again, it’s time to customize it. After all, unless Google is your most-used website, the new icon won’t necessarily be useful right out of the gate. If you use Chrome primarily for work, for example, you may want the browser to navigate to your most frequently accessed work page with the button. Or, conversely, you could set it to Facebook, Amazon, or any other website it is that you happen to use the most.
Like turning the button back on, customizing it isn’t necessarily the most intuitive process either. But, also like turning the button back on, it is fairly easy to accomplish. So let’s dive in.
- Open up Google Chrome. Or, if you’re continuing on after following the above steps, skip to the fourth step here
- Navigate to Settings using the three-dot icon at the top-right-hand side of the UI, then the Settings option
- In Settings, navigate to the Appearance segment via the left-hand sidebar. Or navigate to the “Show Home button” option via the search bar at the top of the page
- Under the “Show Home button” option, there should now be a fuller suite of options to choose from. As shown in the example images, the default setting is to navigate back to the New Tab Page UI. However, there’s a second option as well, set by default to Google.com
- If you’d like to set your home page as Google.com, simply click or tap the radial button next to that option. Chrome will save your options and you can click the home button from any page to test that it works. Otherwise, continue through the next steps
- Tap or click the radial button next to the “Google.com” text entry space
- Click or tap and drag to select “Google.com” within the text entry space
- Enter the new URL you’d like Chrome to navigate to when you tap or click on the home button. In our example, we’ve used AndroidHeadlines.com
- Tap or click on any other place on the page and Google Chrome will save your choice
- Navigate to any page other than the Settings menu
- Tap the home button to test that the home button has been set properly
Now, if for some reason the page doesn’t set properly, there is most likely an issue with your entered URL. The easiest fix will be to use your usual method to manually reach the page you’d like to set — whether that’s via a Google search, the bookmark bar, or URL navigation. Then, copy and paste the URL from the Omnibox into the text entry field from the steps above.
Can you set a home page on mobile?
Of course, most Chrome users are likely accessing the browser from their smartphones. Fortunately, Chrome for mobile already features a home button icon at the top of the UI. However, it is also possible to change the default home page on mobile. So let’s take a look at how you can accomplish this on your smartphone.
- Open Google Chrome
- Press the three-dot icon in the top-right-hand corner of the UI. That’s shaped just like on the desktop platform, as three vertically aligned dots
- Tap on “Settings” in the three-dot menu
- Scroll down and select “Homepage” from within the “Advanced” segment of the Settings menu. The feature is turned on by default. Here is also where you may toggle it off if you don’t want a home button in Chrome for Android or other mobile platforms
- By default, Chrome’s homepage is selected. That will, as with the desktop platform, take users to the New Tab page UI
- Select the blank text entry field titled “Enter custom web address”
- Enter a new URL
- Back out of the settings menu using the backward-facing arrow icon at the top-left-hand side of the page
- As with desktop Chrome, test the page has worked by tapping on the “home” icon, shaped like the outline of a small house. Troubleshooting, as outlined above, may be required if the page didn’t set properly because of a URL error. That will be the most common issue