How do I start Google Chrome in application mode?

What I want is to surf to a website, such as www.facebook.com, directly without borders or address bar, etc.

  • 3
    Note The answer changes over time, as this feature changes. Oct 24, 2018 at 18:22

6 Answers 6


The easiest way is to browse to the website in Chrome, and then follow these steps:

  1. Click the Chrome menu button ( or )
  2. Select More toolsAdd to desktop...
  3. Edit the name if you wish, and click OK

Alternatively, in earlier versions of Chrome:

  1. Click the page menu.

    alt text

  2. Select ToolsCreate application shortcuts.
  3. In the Gears dialog box, select the checkboxes for the locations where you want shortcuts to be placed.
  4. Click OK.

The other way is from the command line:

"path\to\chrome\chrome.exe" --app=http://facebook.com
  • 3
    Looks like easiest way change since this was initially posted and requires a change in chrome flags now : productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/chrome/3A5ZTe-HrVE
    – ROunofF
    Nov 2, 2015 at 1:16
  • 1
    stackoverflow Run standalone web app in Google Chrome without borders or toolbars has an answer which suggests using the --kiosk http://example.com/ option when starting Chrome rather than --app. Apr 8, 2016 at 13:52
  • 1
    It seems that if an existing Chrome session is running, the --app option is ignored. Sep 18, 2016 at 15:36
  • Also, can you explain the 'page menu'? Right-clicking on a page in Chrome 53 under Linux brings up a menu, but it doesn't have a 'Tools' or 'Create application shortcuts' option. Sep 18, 2016 at 15:39
  • 1
    @MichaelScheper This answer needs updating methinks. In Chromium 53, go to main menu (three vertical dots) -> More tools -> Add to desktop...
    – piedar
    Oct 1, 2016 at 0:11

As of Chrome 67, it has changed again. The following works in Chrome 70:

  1. Click the Chrome menu button ( or )
  2. Select More toolsCreate shortcut...
  3. Go to chrome://apps and find your new shortcut
  4. Right-click on icon, and select “Open as window”
  5. Optional Right-click again, and select Create shortcuts... to create desktop or menu icons.
  • Note: --app doesn’t have the same behavior. Oct 24, 2018 at 18:23
  • 1
    indeed --app=path/to/etc just removes tabs and buttons, while the above really creates an app with specific options. There are other differences. I'll post a complementary answer.
    – cipricus
    Jan 12, 2021 at 10:36

On windows with chrome 73, I can get app mode in the presence of existing chrome windows complete with extensions running like this:

chrome.exe --app=https://duckduckgo.com --new-window

Without --new-window, the --app argument is ignored if there is a running instance of chrome already.

  • 1
    "Without --new-window, the --app argument is ignored if there is a running instance of chrome already." this may not be the case anymore. At least, I didn't need the new-window argument on ubuntu just now, with a running chrome open.
    – Him
    Oct 28, 2020 at 15:38

As a complement to this answer mentioning two different ways of creating an "app".

The first method is to create a shortcut with the --app-id parameter

For a Google app like Youtube, go to chrome://apps/, right click the icon and select "Create shortcuts"

enter image description here

For any page, go to that page and — under the menu button, More tools > Create shortcut:

with --app-id

The shortcut to the desktop contains the following command (testing in Linux with Chromium browser):

path/to/chromium-browser "--profile-directory=Profile 1" --app-id=bojccfnmcnekjgjhcaklmcgofnngpjcl

The result is something closer to a separate app with integrated buttons for back/history, refresh, extensions (if installed) and a few other options:

enter image description here

Only basic options are available, like print and find, an option to start the normal window of the browser and also an option to "Uninstall Google Docs", which deletes the app shortcut:

enter image description here

The second method is to create a shortcut with the --app parameter

Using a shortcut with a command like

path/to/chromium-browser "--profile-directory=Profile 1" --app=https://docs.google.com/document

we get a page stripped of tabs and buttons.

enter image description here

The extensions associated with a specific profile are running in background (if that profile was used to sign in), but no browser settings are accessible unless they are related to the page address itself (e.g. if that is a Goggle page like Googles Docs, you will be able to access profiles and Google apps. Clicking a Google app icon will open that app in the main window of the browser).

enter image description here

Other settings will have to be made through a normal window (or an app-like window created by the --app-id argument).

  • icon is blurry when launching google-chrome with --app flag on linux
    – daGo
    Apr 28, 2021 at 9:15

If you are on mac it is a little more involved; however Lifehacker has an article with a script that I just checked (May 9, 2013) and it works.


  • The guides downloads are gone
    – William
    Oct 29, 2018 at 15:47
  1. unhide "extension for known file types" from File Explorer Options -> View
  2. create .bat file
  3. cd (your chrome.exe file)

cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application

chrome.exe --app=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpsI6OAwLno

here you some info about it https://www.chromium.org/developers/how-tos/run-chromium-with-flags

and maybe more https://peter.sh/experiments/chromium-command-line-switches/

in the end there are a lot of flag you can pull, chose as you like

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