Google is planning a big Chrome update to help you use less mobile data

Google Chrome
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Google is about to give Android users greater control over the files they download using Chrome. At the moment download options are very limited, meaning that many people turn to dedicated download managers – but soon this will no longer be necessary.

Currently available as an experimental feature, Download Later will give you new download scheduling option. As well as giving you the option of specifying a date and time to download a file, the feature also lets you save your data allowances by opting to download a file when you're connected to Wi-Fi.

You can, of course, still opt to download files straight away, but for anyone with a limited data allowance, the option to pause a download until a Wi-Fi connection is available makes a lot of sense. It means that it is possible to schedule the download to start automatically rather than trying to remember to  start it – and probably ending up forgetting.

But the ability to schedule downloads for a particular date and time, as first reported by Techdows, is also very useful. It means that if you want to download a large file, you can schedule it to come in overnight or at another time you are not using your phone or internet connection for anything else. Chrome makes it easy to keep track of the download you have postponed in this way via a new 'Scheduled for later' tab on the Downloads page.

Testing times

If you would like to try out the new download scheduling feature, you'll have to be running the Canary build of Chrome. This is described by Google as being "unstable", but opting to use this preview version of the browser gives you a chance to try out new features earlier.

You can download Chrome Canary from Google Play and then you'll need to use the following steps to enable the feature:

  1. Launch Chrome on your phone and pay a visit to chrome://flags
  2. Search for Enable download later
  3. Select Enabled from the drop-down menu
  4. Restart Chrome

The next time you download a file, you'll be given the option of downloading immediately, when there's a Wi-Fi connection available, or at a specific date and time.

Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 25 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines 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. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

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