Google makes Chrome less of a Mac resource hog

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Google promises improvements to the Chrome browser to keep “your Mac cooler and those fans quiet.” The latest version of the browser uses less memory and achieves lower Apple Energy Impact scores.

Chrome is a very popular browser, but it’s also a serious drain on a Mac. It uses plenty of RAM and keeps the CPU humming. It’s bad enough that one of the best ways to speed up the performance of an older Mac is to switch from Chrome to Apple’s Safari browser.

Making Chrome less of a pig

Google is aware of the problem with its software, and it worked to make the macOS version of Chrome M89 less of a resource hog. The changes improve the way the browser handles web pages open in the background.

A new post on the Chromium blog says, “Chrome is also shrinking its memory footprint in background tabs on macOS, something we’ve been doing on other platforms for a while. We’re seeing up to 8% memory savings, which is more than 1GiB in some cases!”

Google also says its efforts with tab throttling are bearing fruit. This is a feature added in a recent version of Chrome that reduces the strain background tabs put on the computer’s processor. “With more data from the field on tab throttling, we’re seeing up to 65% improvement on Apple Energy Impact score for tabs in the background, keeping your Mac cooler and those fans quiet,” Google says.

How to update Chrome

Google tries to make updating its browser to version M89 easy. With the app open, look at the More icon at the top right. This is colored green, orange or red if there’s a new version you haven’t installed, depending on how long it’s been since the update was released.

If there is an update waiting, click on More, then click Update Google Chrome. If you can’t see this link, then there isn’t actually a new version available.