Google rolls out Chrome’s Memory Saver and Energy Saver modes to all users

Enabled by default, the Memory Saver and Energy Saver modes can lower Chrome’s memory usage by thirty percent and reduce battery consumption on laptops.

A lifestyle photograph showing a young male from behind, sitting in front of a MacBook Pro with the Chrome browser running on the Google search page
Image: / Unsplash
  • What’s happening? Chrome has gained new features, originally announced in November, designed to conserve memory and battery life on notebooks.
  • Why care? Anything that helps Chrome perform better on the Mac is a plus.
  • What to do? Manage the new features in Chrome Settings → Performance.

Chrome picks up the new Memory and Energy Saver modes

These new Memory Saver and Energy Saver modes launched for all users in Chrome 110 for macOS, Windows, Linux and ChromeOS. Google’s silent updating mechanism should ensure that your copy of Chrome is always up to date. You can also force an immediate update by choosing About Google Chrome from the Chrome menu.

The Memory Saver mode will free up memory from inactive tabs. A suspended tab is automatically reloaded as soon as you switch to it. Google claims this mode can cut down on Chrome’s memory usage by up to thirty percent. You can cherry-pick tabs that will always remain in memory to avoid reloading and maximize performance.

Chrome is a notorious battery hog so Google designed the Energy Saver mode to conserve laptop battery life by restricting background activity, reducing Chorome’s image capture rate and disabling website animations and smooth scrolling.

Both the Energy Saver mode and Memory Saver are turned on by default when you update Chrome. To manage them, click the ⋮ (ellipsis) icon in the top-right corner, choose Settings, then select Performance in the lefthand column.

What if I don’t have Memory Saver or Energy Saver?

Google Chrome for macOS showing the available experiments, with the Energy Saver mode enabled

If you don’t see the Energy Saver or Memory Saver toggles in the Performance section of your Chrome settings, enable the toggles for the following flags:


Simply paste one of the above lines into Chrome’s URL box and hit the Return key to display the relevant toggle, then click the menu next to it and choose Enabled. You’ll need to restart Chrome to apply the changes. With that done, revisit Chrome Settings → Performance to manage the new memory and battery-saving features.

How to use Chrome’s Memory Saver mode

The Energy Saver and Memory Saver toggles in Chrome's settings on macOS

You can manage Memory Saver in the Performance section of Chrome’s settings.

  1. Click the ⋮ (ellipsis) icon in Chrome’s top-right corner, then choose Settings.
  2. Select Performance in the lefthand column.
  3. Click the Memory Saver switch to toggle the feature on or off.

“When on, Chrome frees up memory from inactive tabs,” reads the description. “This gives active tabs and other apps more computer resources and keeps Chrome fast.”

Chrome will automatically reload an inactive tab when you return to it. Google provides examples of settings and activities that may prevent tab deactivation:

  • Active audio or video (playback or calls)
  • Screen sharing
  • Web page notifications
  • Active downloads
  • Partially filled forms
  • Connected devices (USB or Bluetooth)

If you’d like to force Chrome to always keep a specific website active, like the active YouTube video tab or one of your gaming tabs, hit the Add button next to Always keep these sites active, then paste the URL into the dialog.

How to use Chrome’s Energy Saver feature.

You can access Chrome’s Energy Saver via the browser’s Performance settings.

  1. Click the ⋮ (ellipsis) icon in Chrome’s top-right corner, then choose Settings.
  2. Select Performance in the lefthand column.
  3. Click the Energy Saver switch to turn the feature on or off.

“When on, Chrome conserves battery power by limiting background activity and visual effects, such as smooth scrolling and video frame rates,” Google notes.

You can also select whether Chrome will enter the Energy Saver mode when your MacBook battery drops below twenty percent charge or whenever your computer is unplugged. Energy Saver is not available with your laptop plugged in.

The Google Chrome Help advises turning on Energy Saver to extend the computer’s battery life “for a long road trip or plane ride.” Keep in mind that Energy Saver will decrease performance in games, video streaming and media playback.

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