How to Disable Automatic Login Link in Gmail and Chrome

You may have noticed that the latest Chrome update includes a change in how the browser syncs with your Google account. Specifically, if you sign in or out of Gmail, your Google account will automatically sign in or sign out of Chrome.

If this happens, your bookmarks, saved passwords, and other synced data will not be available until you manually sign in, let alone force you out of all other Google services. On the other hand, if you happen to log into any of the Google services, your Google account will be signed into Chrome. If you have Google Sync turned on, all of your data will also be synced, even if you’re on a computer that you don’t usually use.

To be honest, this is a bit of an odd change. Previously, the Google Chrome sign-in account could be different from the Gmail, Drive, or YouTube sign-in account. Users will remain signed in and sync with Google Chrome even if they are signed out of Gmail, and vice versa. However, after updating Chrome to version 69, some users started reporting automatic logouts from Chrome, and from version 71, Google started to automatically log users in.

Not everyone is happy with the change. Auto logout and desync is causing confusion for some users who are used to switching between multiple Gmail accounts. On the other hand, privacy-minded users are suspicious of being forced to log into their accounts by Google, as it makes their data potentially accessible and trackable if they ever log into a Google service from Chrome.

Adrienne Porter, a Google engineer working on Chrome, explained the reason for this on Twitter , which basically boils down to reducing the likelihood of accidentally syncing data with the wrong accounts on multi-user devices. She also took care to make it clear that this does not mean that your browsing data is tracked or stored, as it requires your account to be “synced” which must be enabled separately. However, as some have pointed out , this appears to be a step towards making sure users are more likely to turn on account sync in the first place.

If you are a user with multiple accounts and are annoyed with the extra steps they take or are concerned about the privacy implications, here’s what you need to know to get around the issue.

This is fixable as long as

If you’ve noticed this strange change and want to fix it, we have good news … and some potentially bad news.

The good news is that you can disable this feature for now if it is causing you problems. The bad news is that this fix could only be a temporary bandage that Google can undo at any time. However, this should work for now.

Of course, there is always the possibility that Google could reverse a new feature entirely if it gets enough negative feedback about it. We will quietly hope so.

Anyway, with this quick caveat, let’s disable that pesky account link.

Disable automatic logout of Google Chrome Sync

The following method will work on all desktop versions of the Chrome browser as well as ChromeOS and Android devices.

Open a new Chrome browser window, then type or copy and paste the following address into the address bar: chrome: // flags / # account-consistency

A new page will open containing a list of items with drop-down menus next to each. The page should automatically navigate about halfway to the desired ” Identity Consistency Between Browser and Cookie ” item and should read ” default” in the menu field next to it .

To disable the login link, click the dropdown and set it to disabled . After that, all you have to do is restart Chrome. This will only take effect after a complete restart of Chrome, so be sure to close all browser windows.

And that should work – Chrome should be back to work.

If you come across this message and the above address doesn’t work or you can’t find the flag, it might have already been removed from Chrome. This is potentially a good thing, as it could mean Google reversed its auto-logout decision … or it could mean we’re stuck in an auto-desync dystopia with no hope of fixing it.

However, if the above method doesn’t work for you, there are a few more aggressive options. These include this registry hack, as well as UnGoogled Chromium , a third-party browser built on top of an older version of Chrome that precludes Google integration. Finally, if you are unsure about these features, or are simply too witty, there are many Chrome alternatives for browsing the web. Sooner or later, you can take advantage of one of them if Google continues to make such changes.

Updated 09.24.2018 11:55 AM PT: This post has been updated to reflect further security changes included in Chrome version 71 and their privacy implications, as well as additional workarounds.


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