Skip to main content

Tired of Chrome? This alternative browser lets you 'pause' the web when you need a break

Man with laptop taking a break from work
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The internet is an essential tool for work and communication, but it's also a massive distraction. You've almost certainly experienced the problem of having work to do, but also feeling drawn to check your inbox, or react to notifications that pop up.

Clearly this is damaging to productivity, in addition to just being plain annoying, and this is why the web browser Vivaldi has introduced a Break Mode to give you a little respite from the web. The browser may only be a few years old (having been launched by a disillusioned Opera co-founder in 2016) , but it's shown that it has a lot to teach the stalwarts of the game.

Vivaldi says that the aim of the new feature is to help make it easier to maintain a work-life balance. We've long been advised to take regular screen breaks from our computers, not just to give our eyes a rest, but also for our mental wellbeing. Vivaldi's Break Mode makes it possible to do the same with the internet.

Activate the feature and you won't actually be disconnected from the internet, but you will be placed into a quiet, clean mode. Audio and video will stop playing, open tabs will be hidden, and panels will vanish from sight, leaving you with a blank screen that is free from noise, notifications and distractions. Sounds heavenly, right?

Enjoy the silence

If you like the sound of this almost meditative mode, you'll be pleased to hear that it is incredibly simple to activate. To hit pause on the internet you have various options, including clicking the pause button that appears to the extreme lower left of the browser window. To restart working online, just click the Play button.

For even faster access to Break Mode, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+. to toggle it on and off.

Vivaldi is available for Windows, macOS and Linux, and you can download the latest version of the browser here. There is also an Android version available, but this doesn't include the new Break Mode feature.

Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 20 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fuelled by technology, music and nature.


Having written for websites and magazine since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.


Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy.