Google Chrome on Android Will Stop Background Tabs After 5 Minutes

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Jul 19, 2018
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Google Chrome has transformed over the years, from a once lightweight solution to Firefox to a memory-hog that’ll lap up several gigs of your RAM in a matter of a few tabs. Last week, the browser was expected to consume even more memory, as a preventive measure to prevent Spectre attacks.  It isn’t too much of a problem on desktops, but the story is completely different for mobiles.  Barring flagships, most devices have a limited amount of processing power to work with, which won’t end well if Chrome continues to guzzle as many resources as it does. Following several user complaints, Google engineers have been working on improving these lately and Chrome for Android will soon stop background tabs after 5 minutes of inactivity.

XDA Developers spotted a commit in the Chromium Gerrit that showed the Google Chrome team to be working on improving the performance of Google Chrome on Android. The feature was originally meant to be enabled by default, but that never happened. Later on, they found another commit that mentioned the StopLoadingInBackground flag again, but this time the comment said that the feature would be on by default. The summary of this new feature is that Google Chrome of Android is trying to improve your device’s performance and save battery life by stopping the loading of tasks and fetching of resources of a Chrome tab when the renderer has been in the background for more than 5 minutes.

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The experiment has been running for a little over five months. The team believes that they have ironed out all of the issues they were able to discover. Results of their tests show reduced CPU work in the background resulting in improved battery life. It also showed improved foreground performance when there are two or more tabs loading. Additionally, the team has factored in people who listen to music and watch videos in picture-in-picture mode with Chrome, so naturally, these sorts of media playback are exempt. There is no mention of when the new feature will make it to a stable release of Chrome, but since most of the kinks appear to have been ironed out, it shouldn’t be too long, hopefully.

Source: XDA developers

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