Brave Browser for Android drops support for Tab Stack view
Brave Browser for Android has been updated to the version 1.36.112 recently. The latest version of the app has removed the Tab Stack view and instead forces the grid layout as the only way to switch between tabs.
The screenshot above shows stacked tabs (waterfall view) in Brave Browser in an older version of the app.
And this is what the new grid layout looks like in the current version of the browser.
Firefox users may recall that the grid view was added to the mobile version of the browser in version 84, released in December 2020. As a Firefox user, I never really liked the layout grid or inactive tabs for that matter. This is a horrible way to browse and manage tabs, which is why I use List view. Although it is not as beautiful as stacked tabs, but it is better than grid view.
Why do browser developers keep pushing the Grid view as if it’s the best option for tabs? Mobile devices have small screens and therefore can only display a limited number of cards at a time, which means the user has to scroll through a longer list of tabs than in the stacked view.
This problem started about a year ago when Google Chrome v88 introduced Grid View for tabs. Users had the option to disable it by changing a preference, which didn’t last long because Google removed the option to disable tab groups when it rolled out Chrome 91.
Brave browser on the other hand, used to support it till latest update. If you are still on an older version of the app, go to brave://flags and search for Tab Grid Layout and Tab Groups. Tap the drop-down menu and change the values for each flag from default to disabled. This was used to disable the grid view and revert to the good old tab stack mode. But not anymore, even if the flags exist, changing them does nothing.
The Chromium open source project is behind this change. I’m not defending Brave, I’m just pointing out where the change started. Since Brave Browser relies on the same source code, it also removed the said feature from the latest version. The app appearance page also no longer has the option to disable tab groups, which is probably why changing the flag doesn’t work, the old view mode doesn’t exist.
Brave users are furious with the change and have raised their pitchforks on the app’s GitHub repository, official community forums, and have also voiced their concerns about the grid layout on reddit.
In a way, I’m glad that Firefox offers list view as a choice for the user. Vivaldi users can opt to use a tab bar, but it’s not exactly as easy to use as a tab stack, and the app’s tab switcher uses the same grid view than Chromium-based browsers.
If you really want to disable tab groups in the Brave browser, there is a workaround. I don’t really recommend it because it involves downgrading the browser to a previous version, as it could put your data at risk due to security issues that were fixed in later versions. If you don’t care about that, download a Brave Browser beta APK a few weeks ago. for example Beta 1.36.104.
Install the app, open the app settings page and go to the Appearance section. Toggle the option labeled “Tab Groups” to turn it off. You will need to restart the app to get the tab stacking feature back.
Do you like tab stacks or grid view in mobile browsers?