Chrome will let you automatically snooze unused tabs to free up memory


Reining in the RAM gluttony

Google’s ongoing efforts developing Chrome certainly don’t go unnoticed, considering it’s the most popular web browser in the world by a landslide margin, across multiple platforms. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, and while the new Chrome 107 release includes improvements like support for HEVC hardware decoding in videos, and laying the groundwork for simplified login experiences down the road, long-standing issues like its infamous RAM hogging continue. Now there’s finally some interesting progress towards doing something about that in development channels, with Chrome working on new tools for snoozing inactive tabs and freeing up system resources for other applications.


Earlier this month, Redditor u/Leopeva64-2 spotted a new Performance page in the settings menu (chrome://settings/performance) in Chrome’s latest Canary build, containing toggles for a Memory Saver and Energy Saver mode (via Chrome Unboxed). The former will hibernate tabs you haven’t touched in a while, freeing up valuable RAM. When Memory Saver is active, you will see a needle gauge icon on the right-hand side in the address bar.

A screenshot for the Memory Saver toggle explains inactive tabs reactivate when you visit them again. You’ll see a pop-up when you revisit a snoozed tab, revealing how much RAM had been freed for other tasks. You can toggle Memory Saver on or off, and define exceptions for websites which should never be snoozed, like YouTube if you use it for ambient music, or a live game score tracker. This feature could be a boon for some of the best Chromebooks hamstrung by limited RAM, or even older computers.

On the other hand, Battery Saver turns off high refresh rate features (smooth scrolling), visual effects, and limits background activity at times when extending the battery life of your device is paramount. For now, these changes are only appearing on Chrome Canary, but Google seems to have woken up to the browser’s hunger for system resources. Hopefully, all this makes it to the stable channel soon, and ultimately becomes available across multiple platforms.

Thanks: Nick

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