Today’s article is going to be a brief article about a previous article, where I gave you one way to make Google Chrome use less RAM. Consider this an updated article. So, if you’re trying to make Google Chrome use less RAM (and power, I guess) read on!
As tech goes, the situation has changed. As the tech changes, so too must we change our reactions to said changes. The thing with tech is that it never stands still, something that I (for one) appreciate.
The article in question is about making Google Chrome use less RAM. This applies to other browsers, but I concentrated on Chrome. Here is that article:
In that article, I recommended folks use the “Auto Tab Discard“ plugin. That recommendation has not changed. It’s a great add-on that will discard unused tabs, saving you both RAM and some power (which is useful for mobile devices).
Now, Google (along with other browsers) have enabled a new(ish) feature. Basically, to save power, the browser does what Auto Tab Discard does – it puts unused tabs to sleep. So, when you open those tabs that were sleeping you will need to wait a moment for them to reload.
That’s not a problem. The problem is, Google does this indiscriminately by default. Chrome does seem to make an exception for tabs that are playing audio or video, but all other tabs are fair game and will be put to sleep.
I repeat, all other tabs are fair game. They can and will be put to sleep. That’s downright annoying when you distinctly want to keep some tabs from going to sleep.
Fortunately, you have options.
You can disable this feature in your settings and continue using an extension like “Auto Tab Discard”. That’s a fine choice. That was my choice. It’s probably the wrong choice, but it is a choice.
Your other choice is to manually add sites to the whitelist, telling Google to keep those tabs open. So, you won’t need the extension if you choose to do it this way. This is probably the best choice. This is the choice I did not make.
I’ll show you how to make that choice, and kinda format this like a ‘regular article’…
Make Google Chrome Use Less RAM:
For once, you don’t need to open a terminal!
Instead, open Google Chrome. Then, click on the vertical three-dot menu in the upper right, and then you need to click on “Settings”. When that tab opens, click on “Performance” (on the left) and the rest should be fairly obvious.
If you’re like me, you can just disable the feature. That looks like this:
If you want, you can keep the feature enabled (it was enabled by default at my house) and just add your favorite sites to the list of sites that always remain active. I don’t feel like messing around with it, so I’ve simply disabled the feature and opted to keep the extension.
I suppose that might mean I use a little extra RAM, I haven’t tested but it’d be a very trivial amount and I quite like the GUI offered by the installed extension. When I next do a clean install, I’ll probably just let the browser deal with it instead of using the extension.
Other browsers may use similar tactics to save power (and free up RAM, the two are related). As of the time of this publication, this was not yet a feature that’s in Google’s opensource counterpart Chromium. Right now, this appears to just be a function in the proprietary version, but tech changes and that too may change.
And, well, now you can see why this is an article all of its own. It was more than I could reasonably add as an update to the existing article and was enough information to make a new article. After publication, I’ll update the previous article to link to this article. I hope… Hopefully, I remember to do that.
Hmm… I think I forgot to do a ‘meta’ article in February. February is a pretty short month, plus I’ve been otherwise distracted. But, I’ve not been too distracted to skip a publication date! We’re rapidly approaching the two-year mark. It has been a pretty good ride!
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