Google Chrome is by far the most widely used browser worldwide, known for its user-friendly design, high speed and a security-conscious approach. However, if you ever tried using other browsers for comparison, you may have noticed that the advantages of Google Chrome come at a price. Users have complained about the hefty amounts of RAM that it eats up, which can also result in Chrome using up battery on your laptop much faster than some of the other browsers. So why is that the case and how can you improve it?
The RAM-hungry browser
It is absolutely true that Google Chrome requires more of your computer memory than some of the other well-known browsers, such as Safari, Firefox or Edge. This doesn’t make it a bad browser, however, as the high RAM usage is mostly related to ensuring a more convenient browsing experience for the users
When you think about it, there is a lot going on every time you open up Google Chrome: we are all accustomed to opening lots of tabs at once and making use of dozens of installed Chrome extensions, all of which we expect to load in no-time. There are processes happening behind-the-scenes that may affect your RAM usage too. For instance, Google uses a Chrome Prerendering feature, which massively improves the load-time of web pages, but to do that it uses up higher amounts of your computer memory. The more pages, extensions and applications you want to run, the more RAM Google Chrome will need to use to maintain a smooth and fast user experience.
How to Minimise Chrome RAM usage
While the reasons for Chrome eating up so much RAM can be justified, it’s still a frustrating problem to many. If Chrome is using up battery too quickly or otherwise causing slowdowns in your computer, you will want to fix this.
Upgrade your RAM
The most obvious fix for this issue is to get more RAM for your computer, preventing your computer memory from maxing out so quickly. However, this does not only require a bit of investment, as buying extra RAM can be quite costly, but some laptops are not possible to upgrade either. If upgrading your computer is not an option, there are also other ways to reduce the amount of RAM that Chrome uses.
Find out what is using up your memory
The best way to find out what is using up the most of your computer memory is by opening the Google Chrome task manager. The way you can do this will be slightly different depending on your operating system. If you are on Mac you will go to Window → Task Manager, whereas on Windows you will click Shift+Esc. Once you have the task manager open, you will be able to see everything that is currently running on your Chrome as well as how much memory each activity is using.
This will help you find out which tabs or extensions are clogging up your RAM and, therefore, what you may want to get rid of. It is quite likely you will find extensions that you no longer need or use, but they are still using up your computer memory in the background every time you open Chrome. The same thing goes for having lots of tabs open at the same time – if they turn out to be the biggest cause of the problem, try to get rid of them by using the bookmarks functionality instead.
Use organiser extensions for tabs
If you have lots of tabs open but can’t spare any of them and bookmarks don’t seem to work for you, there are also some great extensions that can help you manage your tabs more effectively and reduce RAM usage that way. It may feel a bit counter-productive coming from our last point about having as little unnecessary extensions as possible, however, if you need a little help organising your tab clutter, this will turn out to be beneficial in the long-run. You may see it as a kind of investment of some memory in order to reduce larger amounts of RAM usage in the future.
Some of the most popular extensions for this purpose include The Great Suspender, Tabli or Quick Tab, among many others. These clever extensions are designed to help you categorise, save and reduce your tab clutter without losing anything important. So, instead of leaving lots of tabs open all at the same time, you can easily access them only when you need to do so.
Keep your Chrome always updated
Chrome, just like any other software you may use, requires an update from time to time. The updates are implemented by the software itself, typically to improve your user experience or sort out any potential errors/issues with your browser. Some of these updates may be there to address the issues of Chrome using up battery, with new and more efficient ways to run your browser with less RAM usage.
Therefore, make sure that your Chrome is fully updated at all times. While usually it will update automatically, at the time of you closing and opening up your browser again, sometimes the updates may not be successfully completed, if you haven’t closed your browser in a long time. You will see a notification in your menu at the top right corner of the page, which means that an update is pending. If the browser asks you to close it for an update, don’t ignore it.
Run an antivirus scan
It’s not always Chrome using up battery on your laptop – it may also be one of the many different types of malware or adware. These types of viruses can be very sneaky and difficult to notice, they can come in the form of an innocent-looking extension on your Chrome or be hidden somewhere else in your laptop processes.
It is advisable to use an antivirus software at all times, making sure that no malware can creep into your device. This is not only to reduce RAM usage that these viruses can eat up but also to protect your data and privacy.