Set Chrome policies for devices

To ease your policy setup, you can use policy templates to guide you easily through the configurable options. These policy templates are for IT administrators who want to set Chrome policies on their corporate-managed devices.

To see the current list of policies that Google Chrome respects, see the common/ folder in the policy templates zip file (available in all supported languages) or the Chromium developer site (English only).
Windows and Linux

For Windows, there are two types of policy templates available, an ADM and an ADMX template. You'll want to verify which template type you can use on your network. These templates show which registry keys you can set to configure Chrome, and what the acceptable values are. Chrome looks at the values set in these registry keys to determine how to act.

For Linux, we've created a JSON file that you can copy and edit to your needs.

The Windows and Linux templates, as well as common policy documentation for all operating systems, can be found here:

Zip file of Google Chrome templates and documentation
  1. Configure the settings for your network.

    Open the ADM or ADMX template you downloaded:

    1. Navigate to Start > Run: gpedit.msc.
    2. Navigate to Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates.
    3. Right-click Administrative Templates, and select Add/Remove Templates.
    4. Add the chrome.adm template via the dialog.
    5. Once complete, a Google / Google Chrome folder will appear under Administrative Templates if it's not already there. If you added the ADM template on Windows 7, it will appear under Classic Administrative Templates / Google / Google Chrome.
    In the Group Policy Editor, open the template you just added and change the configuration settings.

    The most commonly-modified policies are:

    • Set the home page - The URL that Chrome opens when a user launches the browser or clicks the Home button.
    • Send anonymous usage statistics and crash information - To turn off sending any crash information or anonymous statistics to Google, change this setting to be False.
    • Turn off auto-updates - Although not normally recommended, you can turn off auto-updates.

    For more information, see the full list of supported policies.

    Apply the policies to the target machines. Depending on your network's configuration, this may require time for the policy to propagate, or you may need to propagate those policies manually via administrator tools.

Mac

Policies are described on the Mac in a plist (property list) file. This is found in the Google Chrome bundle. To find the plist:

  1. Download Google Chrome.
  2. Open the bundle.
  3. Find the resources folder.
  4. Find a file called com.google.Chrome.manifest inside.

Chrome Policy FAQs

How do I see which chrome policies are in use on a device?

Enter chrome://policy in your Chrome address bar, and Chrome will display all the policies which are currently in effect for that browser. Policies which say “Applies to: Current user” are cloud-based user policies set from the Admin console, or they could be OS-user policies set by Group Policy Objects (GPO). Group policies can be per user or per machine. Device policies will show up as “Device” on Chrome devices, and “Machine” on Windows/Mac/Linux computers.

What types of policies can you apply to the Chrome browser?

Order of Precedence for Chrome Policies:

Chrome Policy precedence diagram
  1. Machine Policies are applied through Group Policy Objects (GPO) on Windows and through the Admin console for Chrome OS ("Applies to: Device"). These are device-specific and apply to all users, regardless of which browser they’re using or whether or not they’re signed into Chrome or the device. These can also be configured for Linux, and machine policies take precedence over other types of policies.

  2. An OS-user policy is applied to Chrome when a user signs into their corporate-managed Windows or Mac computer. These policies are set using GPO on Windows and Managed Preferences on Mac. OS-user policies take precedence over cloud policies set for Chrome.

  3. Chrome Profile refers to a user’s Chrome experience when he signs in to the Chrome browser on his Windows/Mac/Linux machine. These are also called cloud-based user policies in the documentation, and they’re set by an administrator using the Admin console.

Note: Each policy can have only one value at a time. When there is a conflict between policies set on different scopes, the one that’s higher on the list above takes precedence. Machine Policies take precedence over OS-user and Chrome Profile policies.

How do I identify the source of a setting in a user’s current profile?

With Chrome on desktop, policies are either applied as platform policies or cloud-based policies.

  • Device and OS-user (or platform) policies are pushed to the user using Windows Group Policy Objects (GPO), Managed Preferences on Mac, or another out-of-band management system for Windows/Mac/Linux. Settings pushed this way are visible when you enter chrome://policy in the Chrome address bar, regardless of whether or not the user has signed in to the Chrome browser.
  • Cloud policies are configured using the Admin console and appear to users who’re signed in to the Chrome browser. These user policies show up as “Applies to: Current user” when viewed by typing chrome://policy in the Chrome address bar.

Note: All policies on Chrome devices come from the cloud. In the Admin console, you can set both “user” and “device” policies for Chrome devices.