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How to auto-reload offline tabs in Chrome

When you restore multiple tabs in Chrome, they don’t all reload at once. It’s only when you go to a tab i.e., select it so that it’s active, that it reloads. This is so that your internet doesn’t slow to a snail pace. It’s something like how Windows 10 slowly starts apps up at start up making sure that you system doesn’t freeze up by starting up one too many apps at once. Chrome does something similar with tabs that don’t load when your internet is down. If you want to auto-load offline tabs in Chrome when your internet is back online, you can do so by changing two Chrome flags.

Auto-reload offline tabs

Open Chrome and enter the following in the URL bar. Tap enter to go to the Flags internal Chrome page.

Chrome://flags

On the Chrome flags page, search for the word ‘reload’ and in the results, look for the following two flags.

Offline Auto-reload mode
Only Auto-reload visible tabs

They will both be set to their default states so open the dropdown next to the Offline Auto-reload mode flag and set it to ‘Enabled’. Next, open the dropdown next to the Only Auto-reload visible tabs flag and set it to disabled.

Once you’ve changed the value of both these flags, relaunch Chrome for the change to be applied.

How it works

The Offline Auto-reload mode flag is responsible for reloading any tabs that failed to load because you were offline and its default state is usually one where Chrome will automatically reload the tab when your internet is back. The reason inactive/background tabs don’t reload when your internet is back is because of the Only Auto-reload visible tabs flag.

This flag is also enabled in its default state and what it does is, it limits the automatic reloading of offline tabs to those that are active or in the foreground. If you have, for example, ten tabs open in your browser window, it stands to reason that only one of them will be active. The other nine will be in the background and will not load until you switch to them.

By setting the Only Auto-reload visible tabs flag to its disabled state, and ensuring that Offline Auto-reload mode is enabled, you allow all tabs, regardless if they’re in the foreground or background, to be reloaded automatically when you’re connected to the internet again.

If you want to test this out, turn Airplane mode on, and visit a few websites. When they fail to load, turn Airplane mode off and wait for them to reload. Remember that the tabs will be slow to load if you have a lot of them open.

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