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How to disable extension sync on Chrome without disabling sync

Chrome sync is a great feature that Google improves constantly. A recent update to Chrome now allows you to send links between connected devices. It’s a great way to keep everything in sync across multiple devices except when it syncs data you don’t want it to. Case in point; extensions. Extensions will sync so that you always have the same ones installed across all your synced Chrome browsers. If you need to selectively disable extension sync on Chrome so that extensions from one instance do not sync to all others, you can. Here’s how.

Disable extension sync

Chrome sync will sync lots of things; passwords, history, auto-fill, extensions, themes, and more. When you open Chrome on a device, it will make sure that everything from extensions to your browsing history is available from all other linked devices however, you can pick and choose what is and isn’t synced.

To stop extensions from an instance of Chrome from being synced to other devices, you need to open Chrome and click the more options button at the top right. From the menu, select Settings. At the very top of the Settings page, you’ll see the sync options. Click ‘Sync and Google services’.

On the next page, click ‘Manage sync’.

The next page will show you switches for the various items that you can enable/disable sync for. Turn off the switch for ‘Extensions’. From this point forward, all activity from the browser will sync to other Chrome installations but extensions will not.

You’re free to install more extensions, remove some of the existing ones, and enable/disable the ones that are installed without worrying about it changing how Chrome is set up on your other devices.

Chrome sync is selective in nature and users have freedom to choose what is synced. The syncing options are grouped and not itemized i.e., you can enable or disable extension sync as a whole but you cannot disable one extension from syncing while allowing all others.

If this doesn’t do the trick for you, you might consider creating different Chrome profiles on the devices that you use Chrome on and making the changes to the extensions on a per-profile bases. The profiles will not sync data between themselves but data from one profile will always be available on other Chrome installations that sync using the same account. If you prefer nothing sync from a particular installation of Chrome, you can always disable sync in it.

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