I have an unknown enormous number of browser tabs open in Google Chrome on iOS (iPad). The number of tabs has quietly grown over time, primarily through following links in Gmail that then opens a new tab in Chrome.

But how can I easily manage and view all these tabs? (To ultimately close what I no longer need.)

The only methods for viewing/switching tabs, that I'm aware of, is to carefully slide the tabs left/right to slowly reveal the tabs or swipe on the address bar to navigate forward/back through the tabs. Neither of which is a practical solution to managing an enormous number of tabs. (I don't even know how many tabs there are - there are loads!)

Ideally, I would like to view a vertical list of all the tabs (as you can on the Android app), or maybe even a thumbnail of each open tab (as you sort of can on the Android app - as part of the aforementioned list). But there does not appear to be anything like this on iOS?!

Google Chrome on iOS (iPad) with an enormous number of open tabs


4 Answers 4


In the most recent version of Google Chrome (currently on version 55.0.2883.79) has actually gone a long way to resolving this problem. There is now a Windows-like button to the right of the tabs (and the new tab button) that now displays a scrolling page of tab thumbnails. Showing the thumbnail button to the right of the tabs

Tapping that button results in a page of thumbnails representing the open tabs (you can swipe left/right to show Incognito Tabs and other devices that you are logged in to). However, the first few times I did this, only a few of the tabs were represented by thumbnails. It either took a bit of time or some navigating between the tabs for the remaining thumbnails to display...

Vertical scrolling list of thumbanils

I had amassed in excess of 111 tabs (rough count of 37 lines of 3 tabs)! Some tabs were seriously old! Chrome itself worked perfectly OK with this number of tabs (I think the tabs just go to sleep as navigating back to them triggers a full reload), but scrolling through this long list of thumbnails the first time was a bit jerky on an iPad Air 2.


One way to navigate a lot of tabs with Chrome on the iPad would be to somehow get a list of them out of the device, since this would then allow you to finally close them and start over. Using the list, preferably a clickable webpage, you'd be able to refer to the sites you want and click to re-open them as needed. The problem then becomes that with Chrome/iPad there's no obvious way to get a list of the open tabs either.

For that, a solution is that you can essentially "export" the list of all your open tabs by using Chrome Sync to synchronize the iPad to your Google account in the cloud. To do this, you have to authorize the Chrome browser itself to log in to your Google account. Don't head for a web page to do this; instead look in the Settings menu for Chrome itself. After you enter your Google account information, a sub-option for "Sync" should appear; swipe it for the detailed options and make sure the option to synchronize 'Open tabs' is enabled. Immediately, your iPad will upload the set of open tabs to your Google account online.

Ideally, now you'd be able to inspect the Chrome Sync data by logging into your Google account online—this time on the web—and viewing it in your Google account profile, right alongside the tons of similar tracking data you can find at https://myactivity.google.com/more-activity. You'd be able to browse this secure webpage with any device from anywhere and you'd even be able to use an iPad—such as the same one the data came from—to browse around and click.

Unfortunately however, it seems that Chrome Sync is a separate product that's not totally integrated with the rest of the Google data harvesting apparatus, so the only online hint that I could find of the data you captured is via the a single summary page https://www.google.com/settings/chrome/sync, which acknowledges the number of "Open tabs" that were synchronized, but doesn't seem to provide any way to actually list them (I did spend a long time searching to no avail, but since I always find the Google account pages entirely byzantine, it's still possible that the data is accessible somewhere).

In any case, failing the online option, you can still examine the "Open Tabs" list by using Chrome Sync in its intended way: on another device. Using a different, non-iPad machine, repeat the steps above to enable Chrome Sync and then go to the Chrome History menu. You'll see an additional section for your iPad in the pop-up menu, and if you go to the full page History view, you'll see a separate tab along the left margin which finally displays a clickable list of the open tabs uploaded from your iPad device.

This list is an HTML skeleton with most of its content generated by javascript. If all you want are the titles of the open web pages you can simply copy/paste from this page into any other app. But if you want the underlying URLs as well, you have a bit more work to do. You can either paste into an app (e.g. Microsoft Word) that supports a richer format which preserves the links—and where you know how to separate out the links, or use Chrome's Inspect Element developer features (or the [F12] function key) to grab the fully-resolved HTML after having been rendered by javascript.

Now having walked through this approach, I must confess that the procedure does not work for Incognito tabs, for the simple reason that those pages are specifically excluded from participating in Chrome Sync.

I thank @w3d for posting the question, and for his helpful answer too. Indeed I was already aware of the new thumbnail view feature in Chrome/iPad when I put a bounty on this question. That new view does not allow text selection or even displaying each site's URL, so they doesn't address my own specific need. In fact, since many of the tabs I'm trying to salvage are incognito, even the solution I describe here remains incomplete for me.

I'm still hoping someone will describe any way to manually export a URL listing of all the open tabs—including incognito—from Chrome on iPad.


If you're wanting a close all tabs solution, here's something from google's help site:

Close all tabs

  • Open the Chrome app.
  • At the top right, tap Switch tabs (the window). You'll see your open Chrome tabs.
  • At the top right, tap More (three dots).
  • Tap Close All Tabs.

If you're looking for something to see all your tabs, the tab viewer, which looks like a window, seems to do a fine (albeit buggy) job.

  • The OP didn't ask about closing tabs, the question was how to manage & view all the tabs. If you have that info, please update your answer.
    – fsb
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 0:02
  • These instructions would seem to be for the iPhone. There is no "Close all tabs" option on the iPad version as far as I can see and neither is there a "More (three dots)" menu on the "tab viewer" page. Incidentally, the "tab viewer" page is a very recent addition, but does indeed do a fine job. In fact, the tab-viewer (thumbnail view) does not appear to be mentioned in the docs (linked above) yet.
    – MrWhite
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 0:35

In iOS (9 at least - my 4s wont accept 10) the Chrome browser window has a box with the # of tabs open. Pressing that expands the open tabs/pages and let's me scroll through them, or, close them by touching the X in the corner of the tab. Is there anything similar in the iPad interface?

Also, while I don't have an iPad, on my iPhone and AirBook I've synced my Chrome tabs (and likewise, I have 116 total tabs right now... heh.) It might be easier for you to sort them out on a desktop if you have a lappy or workstation. To do this you may need to reset your Chrome sync (which is at the bottom of your Google dashboard) on each of your devices and log in per each devices browser (even if you are logged in to the Google homepage already).

Hope that helps.

  • 1
    On Android there is a similar "box with the # of tabs open" and from there you can indeed scroll through them in very much the same way by the sounds of it. However, there was no such feature on Chrome iOS. That is, until very recently... there is now a "thumbnail view of open tabs" (I've added an answer).
    – MrWhite
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 23:35
  • "no such feature on Chrome iOS" - Sorry, that was meant to be "Chrome iPad".
    – MrWhite
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 0:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .