How to Stop Chrome From Hogging Your RAM Using a Hidden Flag

With 56.04 percent of the browser market share as of June 2022, Google Chrome is unarguably the most widely used browser out there. However, it is also notorious for being such a memory hog.

If you use Chrome and have been worried about this, you’re not alone. While most people will immediately switch to alternative browsers, there’s something you can actually do about it.

You can now minimize Chrome’s RAM usage via an experimental flag using Chrome Canary. In this article, you’ll learn more about this memory optimization flag, what it does, and how to use it effectively.


Quick Intensive Throttling Experimental Flag Released

Google has released a new feature called Quick Intensive Throttling that allows you to minimize Chrome’s intensive memory usage. This new feature was announced via Chrome’s web dev channel.

The feature is yet to roll out to the stable Chrome. In the meantime, you can experience it by downloading Chrome Canary and enabling the flag. There are other Chrome flags that help to improve browsing speed and enhance overall browsing experience.

Chrome Canary is a stand-alone experimental browser used in testing new features for Chrome before they roll out to the public. However, note that experimental flags may cause your browser to malfunction, whether you use them on stable Chrome or on Canary. Also, note that the Canary browser can be unstable.

What the Quick Intensive Throttling Flag Does

Previously, Chrome allowed JavaScript to wake up sleeping tabs more than once a minute for tabs that have been inactive and in the background for up to five minutes. Not only did this require a lot of processing power, but it was a drain on battery life.

Come Chrome 86, Google introduced Intensive Wake Up Throttling which reduced the number of times JavaScript woke up sleeping tabs per minute after the tabs have been inactive for more than five minutes in a stretch.

If you use Chrome, the draw on RAM and battery life may not be quite noticeable when you have a few open tabs in the background, or if you have significant RAM. But, if you have multiple open tabs or little memory, you may begin to notice your browser lagging or freezing.

With the new Quick Intensive Timer Throttling feature being tested, this five-minute grace period is being reduced to 10 seconds. This means that Chrome will prevent JavaScript from waking up sleeping tabs once they’ve been inactive for 10 seconds. Note that this applies only to pages that are considered loaded while hidden.

This way, more tabs will be able to minimize CPU usage, thereby extending battery life. The new feature is reported to reduce CPU time by 10 percent, thereby increasing battery life by up to 1.25 hours.

How to Use the Quick Intensive Throttling Feature

To use the Quick Intensive Throttling feature, you’ll first need to install the Chrome Canary browser, then enable the appropriate flag.

You can do this on your desktop as well as on your Android phone.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Google Chrome Canary page.
  2. Click on Download Chrome Canary. The browser will be automatically installed.

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to set up your Canary browser.
  4. Once done, enter canary://flags into the address bar and press Enter.
  5. Go to the search box and start typing Quick Intensive Throttling, the flag should pop up while you’re at it.

  6. Click on the Default drop-down on the Quick intensive throttling after loading flag.
  7. Select Enabled, then click on Relaunch. Your changes will take effect after relaunch.

The Quick intensive Throttling flag works on Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, Fuchsia, and Lacros.

Improve Your Browsing Experience and Battery Life With Canary

The new Quick Intensive Timer Throttling feature can be a game changer for the Chrome browser when it eventually rolls out to the stable channel. Meanwhile, you can go ahead and try it out with Canary.

Since Canary is a stand-alone browser, you can compare it with your Chrome browser and see if there’s any significant difference in performance when you enable the Quick Intensive Timer Throttling flag in Canary.

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