Writing about smartphones is kinda my thing, but you’ll find me doing that within the Chrome browser on a laptop. Despite the rather respectable competition (Firefox, Safari, Opera, Edge etc), you’ll find that Chrome is my default choice of browser.
It’s by far the most popular way to browse the web. It dominates 40% of the market, with over 1 billion users. There are plenty of reasons why we all love this particular Google product. However, over the years, Chrome fans across the world have noticed something they’re not so thrilled about: its voracious RAM appetite.
That’s right. This famous internet browser uses so much memory. While it’s true that it’s not the most RAM consuming navigator out there, it’s well known that it demands a copious amount of your computer’s short term storage. Sure, in recent years there’s been updates to address this, but with my rather sloppy working practices (leaving a million tabs open) it can quickly get out of hand.
What is Google Chrome using all this RAM for?
Simply put, everything you do on your computer, phone, or tablet triggers a process in your the RAM. This is why we’re seeing so many smartphones appearing with increasing amounts of RAM. The more the better generally as it’s where the hard work of running each app or program takes place. It serves as temporary storage for all sorts of data. It’s significantly faster on a computer than using a hard drive or an SSD (Solid State Drive) and it’s the same on your phone. If you wondered what makes it easier for your CPU to retrieve the information it needs right away, it’s the RAM.
Keep in mind that, nowadays, most of what people do online takes place in their browsers. In fact, if you’ve got a Chromebook, simply everything you do (pretty much) takes place in the browser. Once you’re in there, you’ll be opening tabs, researching topics of interest, watching videos, checking emails, updating your social media, etc. It’s only natural that all these processes take so much memory, making Chrome’s intake more evident.
How to stop Chrome from monopolising your RAM
Google Chrome has fantastic tools to help you optimise your web browsing experience. It utilises the pre-rendering feature to help websites load a lot faster. Chrome also splits every tab into a separate process in case one of them crashes down. This way, it won’t automatically close all of your open tabs if something hits a snag. However, the more you use all these brilliant features, the more memory your browser will need. If you feel like Google Chrome is hogging all the RAM in your computer, you can follow these steps:
1. Find out who the culprit is
Whenever you’re browsing on Chrome, you probably (like me) make fair use of the multiple tab feature. If you start feeling like everything’s going slower than usual, you can always resort to the Chrome Task Manager and figure out which tab is consuming the most memory. If you’re a Windows user, simply press Shift + Esc. If you’re a Mac user, go to the menu bar, click on Window, and go to Task Manager.
2. Close some RAM-hogging tabs
Once you open the Chrome Task Manager window, you’ll quickly figure out which tabs are nonessential. Now you can manipulate the options that appear at the top and sort the tasks out from higher to lower data consumption by clicking on the “Memory” tag. This way, you’ll better understand which tabs you should close to enhance your browser’s performance and reduce the RAM usage.
3. Time for deep cleaning
If the above steps still don’t give you any positive results, check out which add-ons and third-party apps consume the most memory. Some extensions might seem very useful at first sight. But, are they worth the slower speeds? If not, you can always deactivate them or, better yet, uninstall them. By doing this, you will help keep your RAM consumption to the minimum.
4. Use memory freeing extensions
Despite the negative press about extensions, they actually come in handy when it comes to decluttering your RAM. If you want to “freeze” tabs that you have not been using for a while or close the inactive ones to reopen them later, you can resort to add-ons like OneTab and Session Buddy.
Make Google Chrome even better