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How to Stop Autofill in Chrome URL Search Bar

Few users do not appreciate the autofill feature of Chrome, where the searches get auto-filled in the search bar even before the user has typed the search entirely. To get rid of these features, users can prefer two significant ways, i.e., deleting Chrome browsing data and disabling autocomplete searches & URLs.

There is no denying the fact that Chrome comes with quite a lot of useful functionalities. But on the other hand, some might not be well-appreciated by everyone. And the browser’s ability to auto-fill the address bar probably falls in the latter category.

There are quite a few reasons that could help me justify this statement. Taking my personal experience into account, I just typed in “What is..” and the browser did the rest of the job of filling the Omnibox with the query that I wasn’t even going to search.

Chrome Autofill Address Search Bar

As a result, I then had to use the backspace key to delete this automated data and proceed with my search query. While a single backspace might not count in as much of an effort, imagine doing so every time you proceed ahead with a search.

Furthermore, it could also stand out as a significant privacy issue, especially for users who use a shared PC. So is there any method to stop the autofill in the Chrome address bar, and if yes, how could it be achieved? Well, let’s check it out.

Stop Autofill in Chrome Address Bar

So let’s get straight to the point- there is no native option to stop the autofill from hijacking Chrome’s address bar. On checking the Chromium Bugs Tracker “Issue 91378: Option to turn off autocomplete in Omnibox”, the Status clearly says WontFix (Closed).

Chromium Bug to Turn Off Autocomplete Option

Well, that speaks volumes in itself. However, even then, there do exist a few workarounds through which you could at least minimize this rather irritating behavior of Chrome. So without further ado, let’s check them out.

Disable Autocomplete Searches and URLs

If you disable this functionality, the browser wouldn’t send your cookies and browsing history to the search engines. While doing so won’t altogether disable the autofill, the results will at least be fewer in numbers.

Here are the steps to disable autocomplete search on Chrome:

  1. Launch the Chrome browser and go to its Settings page.
  2. Then head over to the Sync and Google Services section.
  3. Finally, disable the Autocomplete searches and URLs toggle under Other Google services.
    Autocomplete Search and URLs option in Chrome

While on the one hand, it would reduce the number of autofill queries, on the flip side, the queries you would be getting wouldn’t be curated as per your interest. So decide on this trade-off accordingly.

Delete Chrome Browsing Data

The autofill feature of Chrome mostly picks up the data from your cookies, search history, and autofill services. So by deleting these data, you would be limiting the autofill domain.

This would straightaway result in the browser showing fewer autofill queries. In this regard, there are two different approaches: either delete the Chrome data or use it in incognito mode.

Here are the steps to delete the Chrome browsing data:

  1. Start by accessing the Settings page of the Chrome browser from More vertical 3dots icon menu.
  2. Privacy and Security section and click on Clear Browsing Data.
  3. Now select Browsing History, Cookies and other site data, and Cached images and files.
    You may also checkmark the Autofill form data if you wish to be a little more aggressive.
  4. Once you have selected it, hit the ClearData button.
    Clear Browsing Data in Chrome

The benefit of the above method is pretty straightforward- the autofill will now function with limited data at hand. However, this is a temporary fix because, over time, the browser will again send data to the autofill, and the latter will populate the Omnibox with its suggestions.

Now, if you wish to browse in an Incognito Mode, then use the Ctrl + Shift+ N chrome keyboard shortcut combinations to open a new Incognito window.

Fewer Autocomplete Queries in Incognito Mode

Bottom Line: Stop Search Autocomplete

So this was all from this guide on how to stop autofill in the Chrome address bar. As already mentioned, there is no option to disable this feature. There are already quite a few concerned users looking for a “permanent fix” to this issue across the Google Support Forum, but they seem to have returned empty-handed.

It is a surprise that even when this offering from the Silicon Valley giants is scaling new heights every day, they still don’t find it helpful enough to incorporate this feature into their core structure.

With that said, I prefer to take the Chrome incognito browsing approach. This is because the deletion of cookies and data would then require manually typing in the username and password across every site.

Likewise, these sites would now take more time to load (since there are no cache files to use). On that note, we conclude this guide. Do let us know in the comments which method you ultimately went for.

Lastly, if you've any thoughts on How to Stop Autofill in Chrome URL Search Bar, then feel free to drop in below comment box.

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Sadique Hassan

Sadique is a Bachelor of Computer Application in Computer Science and an MBA professional. He became a tech writer by choice and has continued pursuing it for the last 7+ years. He is keenly interested in open-source technology like Android and also loves troubleshooting the tech. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

5 thoughts on “How to Stop Autofill in Chrome URL Search Bar”

  1. To be honest I don’t understand what they were thinking, this is like having a car who steers randomly by it self. Anyways, it’s nice you guys put time to explain.

  2. Thanks for this info. I have disabled the auto complete option in Sync as you suggested and it now gives me just Bookmark results. Exactly what I have been trying to achieve all afternoon!

    Only just trying Chrome again in first time for ages, and it leaves a lot to be desired. Controlling this kind of functionality is pretty fundamental in my view. So to have the option so incredibly well hidden that I couldn’t even find it is fairly pathetic.

    Prior to finding your solution I had tried all sorts of things with no luck, including using various Omnibox setting changes under the “Experiments” area (chrome://flags/). None of which helped at all.

    Altering a setting like this in other browsers such as Firefox was so obvious and easy it makes Chrome look pretty bad by comparison. They really need to think again.

  3. To James: I too saw this. It only stopped when I cleared items from History (had to do everything from Before the Dawn of Time for it to take) (also must restart browser of course)

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