Fixing Google Chrome Pinned Tabs on MacOS

On MacOS (previously OSX) pinned tabs do not open back up when you close the last Chrome window without closing Chrome completely. Closing the last window doesn't typically close an application. This is “by design”.

You'll notice that if you click the red X to close the last Chrome window, Chrome itself stays open (there's a black dot under it's icon in the dock). If you click on that icon, Chrome will open a new window. Because it's not opening Chrome for the first time, it doesn't launch your pinned tabs like you might expect.

Solution 1: Use command-q to Close

The easiest solution is to get in the habit of pressing `command-q` to quit applications. This closes that last window and completely closes the application. If you have multiple windows open, it will close those as well.

Solution 2: Use the --pinned-tab-count Command Line Option

Note: This worked for me, for a while, but it really shouldn't have. When you put an app in the dock, it doesn't seem to save the command line options. I don't know why mine seemed to work at first. The solution above is really the only thing that works for me.

This option is a bit harder to setup but it's worth it.

Create an alias to the Chrome app with the –pinned-tab-count command line option. You'll only need this once, to launch Chrome manually with the command line option, then we'll set it to stay in the dock. Here's a quick overview of the steps involved.

  1. Settings, On Startup, Open the New Tab Page or Continue where you left off
  2. Remove “Keep in Dock” for Chrome
  3. Quit Chrome completely
  4. Create a Chrome alias
  5. Start Chrome with the –pinned-tab-count option
  6. Mark Chrome as “Keep in Dock”

Here's the command that creates the Chrome alias. You'll need. Enter this in a terminal window.

  alias chrome="/Applications/Google\\ \\\\ \\Chrome"

If you want the chrome command to be available to you permanently, add that alias line to your ~/.bash_profile file. That will setup the alias every time you open a new terminal window after that.

Now that you have the alias, start Chrome with the command line argument.

  chrome --pinned-tab-count

Now the you have Chrome open with the option, lets set it to stay in the dock. Right click on the Chrome icon in the Dock and select Options then Keep in Dock. Now your dock icon has the –pinned-tab-count command line option built in.

Close the last Chrome window with the red X and then click on the Chrome icon in the dock. You're pinned tabs should open back up.

Note that the option is supposed to be something like –pinned-tab-count=2 but I found that this workaround works without specifying the number or tabs.

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mac/fixing_google_chrome_pinned_tabs_on_macos.txt · Last modified: 2020/06/01 22:53 (external edit)