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Chrome addresses macOS memory usage in new version

The Dock on Mac
The Dock on Mac (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Chrome is trying to fix its awful memory usage on macOS.
  • A new version is reportedly using up to 8% less memory and scoring 65% better on Apple's Energy Impact score.

Chrome is trying to improve the impact of its browser on the memory of your Mac in macOS Big Sur and beyond and says users can expect big improvements with its latest version.

From a new Chromium Blog:

Boosting performance while adding features, functionality, and improving security, requires deep and continuous investment. Today's post is the first in a series this year that will go into more technical detail about Chrome's ongoing efforts around performance. In this release, we've dug deep into the core of Chrome, upgrading how we allocate and discard memory, and even how we build, package, and run Chrome, to make today's Chrome even faster and more memory efficient.

Chrome says that it is shrinking down its memory footprint for background tabs on macOS, a new feature that other platforms have had for some time. Devs say this is showing memory savings of up to 8% or 1GiB in some cases.

It has also leveraged more data on tab throttling to deliver "we're seeing up to 65% improvement on Apple Energy Impact score for tabs in the background", which Chrome says will keep your Mac cooler and fans quieter.

A notorious memory hog on any OS or hardware that can bring even the best Macs to its knees, a developer in February revealed tests which showed Chrome uses up to 24x the amount of RAM as Safari on macOS, each tab using up to 1GB of RAM compared to just 80Mb on Apple's default browser.

Creator Jonathon Morrison last year managed to bring a Mac Pro to its knees using 6000 Google Chrome tabs.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.