How Much RAM Does Chrome Use & How Can You Reduce or Curb it?.
How Much RAM Does Chrome Use? Unfortunately, it has become very common to find that your google chrome is hanging or responding quite slowly because of the amount of RAM that your chrome uses. Here is a detailed explanation and how to curb the amount of RAM used by chrome.
Does Google Chrome Really Use More RAM?
Several years ago, the only answer was Yes. Google Chrome’s RAM-hungry reputation was well known. However, in 2019, and in comparison with other browsers, it doesn’t always use a huge amount of memory. In fact, at times, Mozilla, Edge, Opera, and Safari all use more RAM than Chrome. Google Chrome is absolutely one of the fastest browsers, but it needs a lot of RAM to take that title.
What Chrome uses all that RAM for
Think about it: When you’re using a computer, most of what you do takes place in your browser, from opening tabs to watching YouTube videos, to using web apps or extensions that integrate with the rest of your machine. That’s a lot of stuff.
Chrome splits every tab and extension into its own process, so if one thing crashes, it doesn’t bring down the whole web page or all of your open tabs at once. This is a lot more convenient for you, but it can lead to higher memory use since Chrome has to duplicate some tasks for every tab.
There are other things going on behind the scenes, too. Chrome’s prerendering feature, for example, can cause higher memory usage, but it makes your web pages load faster. Certain extensions or websites may also leak memory and cause higher RAM usage over time.
And, of course, the more tabs and extensions you have installed, open, and running, the more memory Chrome is going to use.
So yes: Chrome uses a lot of RAM, but it does so with (mostly) good reason: your convenience. We’re accustomed to lots of tabs and fast page loading, and the price we pay is measured in gigabytes of RAM.
How Does Google Chrome Manage RAM?
Modern browsers like Chrome use RAM this way to offer better stability and faster speeds. Here’s how Chrome handles RAM.
By running each process separately, if one crashes, the entire browser remains stable. Sometimes, a plugin or extension will fail, requiring you to refresh the tab. If every tab and extension was run in the same process, you might have to restart the whole browser, instead of a single tab.
The downside is that some processes that single-process browsers can share between tabs must be replicated for each tab in Chrome. Splitting into multiple processes comes with security benefits, too, similar to sandboxing or using a virtual machine.
In addition to the tabs, plugins, and extensions, a few other processes also use RAM.
Pre-rendering is a notable example. Pre-rendering lets Chrome start loading up a webpage that it predicts you’ll go to next (it might be the top search result from Google, or the “next page” link on a news site). The pre-rendering process requires resources, and so uses more RAM. But it can also speed up your browsing experience if it is working well.
If it isn’t working well, the pre-rendering process (or other processes Chrome uses to improve your browsing experience) can slow everything down by using too much RAM.
If you’ve not closed Google Chrome in a while — probably because like me you’ve got a whole bunch of tabs you’re keeping open — then perhaps there’s an update waiting for you.
You can easily tell if there’s an update on later releases of Chrome because the three dots menu will change from green to yellow and then red to give you a visual reminder of how out-of-date the browser you are running is).
To force Chrome to check for an update type chrome://help into the address bar and follow the prompts.
2: Try Chrome in “Safe Mode”
While Google Chrome doesn’t have a specific “Safe Mode” you can run it in, the closest feature to this would be running it in Incognito Mode. Why? Because in this mode it disables extensions disabled. Close all your Chrome windows, open up a fresh window, and check on RAM usage. Now open up a fresh Incognito Mode window (then close the normal window you previously opened).
Does Chrome use significantly less RAM now? If it does the problem might be an extension.
If it does you can enable different extensions and test to see if the problem comes back (type chrome://extensions into the address bar and hit ENTER to access the screen where you can enable the extensions). If when you enable a certain extension you see RAM usage to through the roof, you’ve got your culprit!
3: Get Rid of Unwanted Extensions
Extensions can eat a lot of RAM, and the more extensions you have running that are doing things, the more RAM and processing power Chrome will take (and the slower your computer will feel).
Type chrome://extensions into the address bar and hit ENTER to go to a page where you can disable any unwanted extensions. Either uncheck the box to disable the extension or click on the trash can icon to delete it.
Note that if you delete an extension you lose all the data associated with it (this does not happen if you disable it)
4: Control Tabs With Custom Extensions
The number of tabs you have open at any one time has a direct impact on the performance of Chrome, as well as how much RAM the application consumes. Fortunately, it’s possible to have a lot of tabs open and keep memory consumption under control with some extensions.
5: Close Your Browser!
You really don’t have to have your browser running the whole time! You can customize Google Chrome to reopen exactly where you were when you closed it.
Type chrome://settings and under On startup, you’ll see three options:
Open the New Tab page
Continue where you left off
Open a specific page or set of pages
If you want Google Chrome to fire up where you left it, choose to Continue where you left off, or if you want to start up from a custom set of pages, choose Open a specific page or set of pages and select those pages.
One word of caution — be careful if you have multiple browser windows open because only the tabs from the last window you closed will be reopened.
Tip: If you accidentally close a tab, you can recover it by pressing Ctrl + Shift + T on Windows or Linux, or ⌘ + Shift + T on a Mac.
6: Clear Your Cache
If you’re getting low on disk space then you might find Chrome will speed up if you clear the cache. Type chrome://settings/clearBrowserData into the address bar and hit ENTER. I’d suggest choosing only the Cached images and files option and perhaps Browsing History. Alternatively, you can nuke everything and start with a clean slate.