Don't like Chrome's Download Bar? Then change it!

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 21, 2012
Updated • Feb 1, 2014
Google Chrome

When you download files in Google Chrome, all downloads are listed in a downloads bar at the bottom of the screen.

While this can be practicable at times, for instance to open a downloaded file directly on the system, or to use the context menu to open the folder the files were saved in to, it can get in your way as it needs to be closed manually.

Some users on the other hand may dislike the bar, as it is displayed until it is actively closed in the browser. This can be especially problematic on low resolution systems.

The following screenshot highlights the download bar in the Chrome browser. As you can see, it only lists the most recent downloads directly, and links to the remaining downloads.

chrome downloads bar

Google Chrome users who do not work with the download bar at all can switch to a different download interface to disable it completely in the browser. The following steps are necessary to do just that:

  • Load chrome://flags/ in the browser's address bar. This displays a list of experimental features of which the majority are not yet ready for prime time (meaning being enabled by default).
  • Locate the New Downloads UI flag there. I suggest you tap on F3 to open the on-page search to find the flag quickly.
  • A click on the enable link activates the feature. Please note that you need to restart the browser (prompted) before the changes take effect.
  • The now download interface is available for all supported operating systems (Windows, Linux, Mac, Chrome OS).

new downloads ui

The biggest issue that you may experience afterwards is that you do not really know if a download has started properly. While the download progress is displayed in some operating systems in a different manner, the Mac Dock for instance, it may simply be too fast to be visible. The best way to check is to use the Ctrl-J shortcut to check the download manager, or to open chrome://downloads/ directly in the browser. (thanks Caschy)

What about you? Do you like to work with Chrome's download bar?

Update: Please note that Google has removed the option to disable the so-called download shelf in Chrome. There is currently no option available that removes it from the web browser.


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  1. ShaunCro said on October 1, 2022 at 8:22 pm

    You can now enable a download bubble instead of the irritating download shelf. Just search for Enable Download Bubble to find the flag. But thanks for this, was a bit bleak when I saw it couldn’t be done anymore, but searched and found that you can change it to a bubble now at least.

  2. Ashish said on March 17, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Great Extension!!! works fine for me…:)

  3. zeke7 said on March 30, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    For those subscribed to this post and haven’t seen Martin’s new (2014) post on the Downloadr Download Manager chrome extension, it solves the unresolved problem discussed here, in that it completely eliminates the pop-up Download shelf, **even for downloads that are in progress**, not just for downloads that have completed. Been working great for me so far.

    1. tam said on March 31, 2014 at 3:08 am


  4. hacking master said on February 1, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    how can i get it on chrome 33?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 1, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      Google seems to have removed the option from Chrome. I have updated the article accordingly.

  5. drumdiva said on April 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Any idea why my downloaded documents would NOT be showing in the download bar? The only thing that’s there is the link to the downloads page (“Show all downloads”)

  6. zeke7 said on October 24, 2012 at 6:06 am

    First they take away vertical tabs, now this… seems they want to take away our vertical real estate. Does Google earn more for each vertical scroll bar movement the user is forced to make?

  7. tranceking said on October 23, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    That ‘remove it after downloads finished’ workaround is the only thing I’ve found so far.

    google have not given any explination either which shows how little they care for users. it’s also booting up a tad slower now after these latest updates.

  8. zeke7 said on October 23, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Said extension does not eliminate vertical-space-hogging Download bar during extended downloads. Not a solution

  9. 911jason said on October 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Alhadis, try that extension in the post right above yours. I was skeptical, but it definitely works and doesn’t seem to have any unwanted side effects.

  10. Alhadis said on October 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm


    No, I don’t normally rant in capitals unless something is REALLY pissing me off, and I, just like all these users, am getting fed up with having to manually close that sodding shelf every time I save an image (and when you work in web development and graphic design like I do, you’re saving images VERY often). Removing that helpful little flag just seems so painfully illogical, it’s like stapling your dick to a pineapple. Why would you go and remove that, Google? WHY?!

  11. taro said on October 1, 2012 at 4:00 am

    It’s not a extention that satifys me, but is useful.

    1. Anonymous said on December 2, 2012 at 12:37 am

      THANK YOU!

    2. Damien said on November 25, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      The problem with the extension is that it also resets the download path.
      Lets say you are saving files to a folder, usually you come back to that folder when saving next file.
      But when this extension worked it’s magic you get back to the standard download folder each time.

  12. tamla said on September 29, 2012 at 2:49 am

    noticed it gone and do not like. thanks for the reminder to revert back, gonna try that.


  13. tranceking said on September 28, 2012 at 1:59 am

    The update has removed this feature, I hope somebody can get this back. There is simply no need to keep avoiding a simple fix by having an option to hide this permenantly. I may just revert back to version 21 & disable auto updates for chrome otherwise. Before people moan at me, It’s the little things that make a difference! I save lots of files I have a dedicated button on the toolbar for viewing them, I don’t need this.

    Also, the wrench icon change, priorities are odd in google land o_0

  14. zeke7 said on September 27, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Was using this solution for months; then it suddenly disappeared today with the latest chrome update (22.0.1229.79 m). Any one know a new solution to zap the DL bar?

  15. mzaiemo said on September 19, 2012 at 1:28 am

    if the download status bar will auto dissapear in few seconds. emm

  16. 911jason said on August 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Apparently Google has now removed this feature. All of a sudden the download bar is back and when I visit the Flags page, the “New Downloads UI” is gone.

    1. BobbyPhoenix said on September 27, 2012 at 3:02 am

      Yep. Just upgraded to 22. Download bar is back. Ugh!

  17. Roman ShaRP said on June 23, 2012 at 11:56 am

    No, I don’t like Chrome’s download bar. Firefox way of handling downloads and its customizability are way better for me.

    So thanks for the tip on how to disable this shelf.

  18. ilev said on June 23, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Bad advice as you can’t cancel a download if you don’t see it on the status bar.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 23, 2012 at 8:22 am

      You can cancel downloads in the download manager.

  19. MartinJB said on June 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    The download bar has always been IMHO a nuisance I would much prefer it if it would behave like the download status bar addon for FF. This flag is useful but as you point out some downloads are so fast they go unnoticed which often means double downloading. Each browser has its own annoyances ;)

    1. BlueCrap said on October 20, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      Ha! You can just use CTRL+J to make the Download Bar go away. The way it appears to show dload started is OK, but I mostly work with the Downloads Tab instead.

      1. zeke7 said on October 21, 2013 at 4:32 am

        Ctrl-J not only loads a new Downloads tab, but the download bar comes right back up again with the next download, even with that tab displaying. Not a solution.

        Safe to say most people posting here probably already knew of the ^-j keyboard shortcut, since it’s included in the root listing of the Customize Chrome button.

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