Web Browser Controls and Settings on Your Android Tablet

By Dan Gookin

More options and settings and controls exist for web browser apps than for just about any other Android app. Rather than have you worry about every dang-doodle detail, a few options are presented here that are worthy of your attention.

Setting a home page

The home page is the first page you see when you start a web browser app. Well, every web browser app except for the Chrome app. For the others, heed these directions to set the home page:

  1. Browse to the page you want to set as the home page.

  2. Tap the Action Overflow icon.

  3. Choose Set Home Page.

    You may have to choose the Settings action first and perhaps even dig through other menus, but eventually the Set Home Page command appears. If not, the browser app (like Chrome) doesn’t allow you to set a home page.

  4. Tap the action Use Current Page.

    Because you obeyed Step 1, you don’t need to type the web page’s address.

If you want your home page to be blank (not set to any particular web page), choose the Blank Page item in Step 4. When this item isn’t available, type about:blank as the home page address. That’s the word about, a colon, and then the word blank, with no period at the end and no spaces in the middle.

Clearing your web history

When you don’t want the entire Internet to know what you’re looking at on the web, open an Incognito tab. When you forget to do that, follow these steps to clear one or more web pages from the browser history:

  1. Tap the Action Overflow icon and choose History.

  2. Tap the X icon next to the web page entry you want to remove.

    It’s gone.

Some web browser apps place the History list on the Bookmarks card: Tap the Bookmarks icon and then tap the History tab to view web page history. Tap the Edit button, then select the items you want to remove. Tap the Delete (Trash) icon to remove those items.

You don’t need to clean up your web browsing history when you use an Incognito tab.

Changing the way the web looks

The web on a tablet will never look as good as the web on a computer. You do have a few options for making it look better.

First and foremost, remember that you can orient the device horizontally and vertically, which rearranges the way a web page is displayed.

You can spread your fingers to zoom in on any web page, but when you find yourself doing that too often, consider resetting the screen text size:

  1. Tap the Action Overflow icon and choose Settings.

  2. Choose Accessibility.

    This item might be titled Screen and Text in some web browser apps.

  3. Use the Text Scaling slider to adjust the text size.

    The preview text below the slider helps you gauge which size works best.

Setting privacy and security options

Pretty much every web browser app available to Android tablets enables optimum security settings. The only issue you should consider is how information is retained and automatically recalled. You may want to disable some of those features. Obey these steps:

  1. Tap the Action Overflow icon and choose Settings.

  2. Choose Privacy.

  3. Tap the Clear Browsing Data button.

    This step might not be necessary for all web browser apps, which directly show you the list of check mark items.

  4. Place check marks by those items you want removed from the tablet’s storage.

  5. Tap the Clear button.

Some web browser apps might present options for remembering form data or passwords. If so, remove the check marks by those items. Also, delete any personal data, if that’s an option.

With regard to general online security, always to be smart and think before doing anything questionable on the web. Use common sense. One of the most effective ways that the Bad Guys win is by using human engineering to try to trick you into doing something you normally wouldn’t do, such as click a link to see a cute animation or a racy picture of a celebrity or politician. As long as you use your noggin, you should be safe.