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Google makes Chrome for Mac faster and more battery friendly

It’s no secret that Google’s Chrome browser has always been a resource hog on macOS, but that could be changing as the newly launched Chrome 89 brings under-the-hood optimization resulting in reduced memory/CPU usage, increased battery life and a better experience overall.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Chrome 89 for macOS uses up to 5x less CPU.
  • It brings about 1.25 hours longer battery life.
  • Background tabs should no longer hog resources.

A promotional image showing Google's Chrome browser running on various form factor devices

Keeping your Mac cooler while browsing

According to Google’s Chromium blog, Chrome now frees up the memory that the foreground tab isn’t actively using, such as big images you’ve scrolled off-screen. This enables Chrome to reclaim up to a hundred megabytes per tab (more than 20 percent on some popular sites).

The memory footprint in the background tabs on the Mac has shrunk by up to eight percent.

“Finally, with more data from the field on tab throttling, we’re seeing up to 65 percent improvement on Apple Energy Impact score for tabs in the background, keeping your Mac cooler and those fans quiet,” notes the search giant.

Android and Windows versions, too

Making today’s Chrome faster and more memory efficient isn’t limited to macOS, it’s actually a broad effort on Google’s part that extends to the Android and Windows editions of Chrome. The company has not said whether these optimizations extend to Chrome for Linux, however.

→ How to organize your tabs in Google Chrome

In Chrome for Android, Google is promising fewer crashes, a five percent improvement in memory usage, 7.5 percent faster startup times and up to two percent faster page loads. And on Windows, Chrome M89 reduces memory footprint by 22 perfect in the browser process, eight percent in the renderer and three percent in the GPU, the search giant has said.

Also, the browser’s responsiveness has increased by up to nine percent.

Chrome vs. Safari

In our experience, Safari still feels faster, more responsive and less of a resource hog compared to Chrome. For years now, Apples’ web browser has been using various techniques to decrease resource consumption, such as freeing up resources taken up by inactive tabs, temporarily stopping animations for content outside the current view and so forth.

This allows Safari to run for up to one hour longer on a single charge than either Chrome or Firefox, according to Apple. The Cupertino technology company claims that Safari in ‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌ is 50 percent faster on average at loading frequently visited websites than Chrome.

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