Google Chrome Now Uses Less Memory on Linux

screenshot of google chrome 110 on ubuntu 22.10
Memory saver in Google Chrome 110

Google Chrome 110 is rolling out to users across all platforms this week and there’s a notable new feature included.

No, don’t worry: it’s not AI related ;).

The world’s most popular web browser now includes a memory saver. It was enabled by default on my systems, but there is a toggle to turn it off, should you want to.

So what does it it?

To quote the feature blurb on the (also new) Performance tabs in Chrome’s settings:

“When on, Chrome frees up memory from inactive tabs. This gives activate tabs and other apps more computer resources and keeps Chrome fast. Your inactive tabs automatically become active again when you go back to them.”

Now, if the feature sounds familiar it’s because Google actually announced it last year. However, it’s only just begun rolling out to users of Google Chrome’s stable channel (and if you don’t know what the stable channel is I can guarantee that you’re probably using it).

You don’t need be an excessive tab-hoarder to benefit, which is nice. I only ever have about 6 tabs open at any one time but some, like Gmail, can squat on sizeable amounts of memory over time.

Sometimes though, you’re okay with that.

Google has that covered. You can add quickly add websites to an allow-list in Chrome. This will stop them from being unloaded in the background.

Chrome users on Windows and macOS also get another performance-focused feature that reduces power consumption on laptops once the battery percentage dips below 20%. Sadly, that feature isn’t enabled in Linux builds — at least not yet.

Get Google Chrome 110

If you already use Google Chrome on Linux you likely have this update already. If so, you can activate Memory Saver via the Chrome Menu > More Tools > Performance.

If you don’t have this update yet, go run a software update check. Chances are it’s available from your distro’s usual update avenues.

If not, you can download Chrome for Linux from Google, or get it unofficially from places like Flathub, the AUR, etc.