Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Chrome will stop draining the life out of MacBooks soon

Published Jul 13th, 2020 7:31AM EDT
Google Chrome
Image: Apple Inc.

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

  • Google Drain still drains a lot of battery life on MacBook and Windows, but Google confirmed it’s working on several features that should reduce the energy dram on laptops.
  • It’s unclear when these battery-enhancing features will launch, but Chrome does face increased competition than ever before, thanks to Microsoft and Apple.
  • Microsoft’s Edge browser and Apple’s Safari can both prolong battery life on laptops and offer features that are not available on Chrome. Furthermore, Safari is expected to get a significant update come macOS Big Sur.

Google’s Chrome browser is the best and worst thing that could have happened to internet browsers. Google challenged the traditional players in the business years ago, with a better and better alternative that conquered the market. Chrome pressured its rivals to come up with matching features and think of novel ways to capture the attention of internet users on PC and Mac. But for all the good it has done, Chrome does have a major issue that’s even worse than the fact the Chrome is Google’s perfect tool to collect user data and improve its bottom line. Chrome is a huge battery hogger on both Windows and macOS devices. Google vowed time and again to fix the issue, but Chrome continues to drain the life out of laptops regardless of the operating system. And this might be the year that Google finally does it. The alternative could be losing a massive chunk of Chrome users to Apple’s upcoming Safari version or Microsoft’s Edge browser that’s built on the same Chromium that Google uses for Chrome.

Google’s director of Chrome browser engineering Max Christoff spoke to The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern about the battery issues of the Chrome browser.

“I view performance on Chrome as a journey, not a destination,” the exec said. “This is an ongoing investment in improvements to speed, performance, and battery life.”

Stern compared Chrome with Edge (on PC and Mac) and Safari (and Mac) and found that either browser improves battery life considerably. Anyone using multiple browsers is probably aware of this. Edge can run the same extensions like Chrome, and Safari does offer Apple’s class-leading privacy features — Safari in Big Sur will deliver additional upgrades, including support for more extensions.

Christoff saw the battery tests and said that three big improvements are due in the next months. First of all, Chrome will be updated to limit the power that some resource-heavy ads require. Chrome optimizations will allow “will allow the most performance-critical parts of the software to run even faster,” per Stern. The most critical update concerns “tab throttling.” Chrome will prioritize active tabs and limit resource drain from tabs in the background. Christoff said this feature will have a “dramatic impact on battery and performance” on Macs.

It’s unclear when these features will roll out. If battery life is problematic, you can try Edge or Safari on your Windows 10 or MacBook laptop and temporarily dump Chrome. The Journal has a great rundown of the differences between these Chrome alternatives, as well as a few tips for sticking with Chrome and reduce battery drain.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

More Tech