Chrome Will Get a 2-Hour Battery Boost on Mac With New Update

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Google Chrome will be getting a new update soon which will bring forth much-needed battery improvements to the notoriously resource-hungry browser. Even though Chrome is the most popular and beloved web browser in the world, it is not a hidden secret that it also utilizes the most resources on any machine, leading to jokes about it requiring more RAM than even Adobe's professional apps.

Google has been working on improving Chrome's efficiency for some time now. This latest update, currently in testing, is a result of an investigation done by the company on Javascript timers. Many Javascript timers that work in background tabs are often useless to users. Most of these timers are invoked when a website checks for scroll position, or checks for interactions with ads. Reducing the number of wake ups for Javascript timers in background pages from 1/second to 1/minute ensures that these websites continue working as they should while reducing their power usage.

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The new update is available in Chrome dev builds as a flag called 'Throttle Javascript timers in background'. When enabled, it throttles Javascript timers for tabs that have been backgrounded for more than 5 minutes, to just 1 request per minute. As per Google's testing, on average, this tweak can provide up to 28% improvement in battery on macOS when using Chrome with multiple tabs, and the foreground tab does not have any website opened.

Blank page in foreground

It is still an hour less than Safari, but a massive improvement for Chrome. Note that the background tabs included websites such as Gmail, CNN, Amazon, Slack, Twitter, Facebook, and more.

However, the battery savings are not as good when you have a resource-heavy website in the foreground like YouTube. During Google's testing, the improvements were around 13% (36 minutes), when this tweak was used. Note that 'Automatically adjust brightness' was turned off during this test. Keeping it enabled should have given better results.

YouTube in foreground

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Either way, not everyone always watches YouTube in the foreground, so the results might be even better when using websites that do not stream video. Any sort of improvements to battery life when using Chrome are more than welcome.

To enable this tweak before it's available to the public, you would need to download Chrome dev build. Once installed:

  1. Open about:flags
  2. Search for 'Throttle Javascript timers in background'
  3. Change 'default' to 'enabled' and restart Chrome.

Chrome 85

Let us know if you test out this tweak and how it fares for you. This tweak will be available for Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, and Android, so you can test it on any of these platforms to see if improves battery life for you. If you still want to get the best battery life from your device, it is best recommended to stick to the default browser - Safari on Mac, and Edge on Windows.

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