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Google Chrome update brings up to 18 hours of web browsing on a MacBook

Published Feb 28th, 2023 12:00PM EST
Chrome 108 introduces new Energy Saver and Memory Saver modes.
Image: Google

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Google recently announced new Energy Saver and Memory Saver features for the Chrome browser, making them available to users a few days ago. The two features should reduce Chrome’s annoying habit of consuming lots of resources, and improve the overall browsing experience. The update was especially exciting for laptops because it should reduce energy consumption and battery depletion. But Google on Tuesday announced new Chrome improvements that are specific to Apple’s MacBook lineup, and they’re aimed at improving battery life while using the browser.

The new features Google just introduced go beyond the Energy Saver and Memory Saver settings available to all Chrome users. Google went under the hood to change how the Chrome browser works on MacBooks. That means you don’t have to do anything to enjoy better battery life while using Chrome.

M2 13-inch MacBook Pro battery lasts for 18 hours while playing YouTube in Google Chrome.
M2 13-inch MacBook Pro battery lasts for 18 hours while playing YouTube in Google Chrome. Image source: Google

According to Google, the latest release of Chrome will let you watch YouTube for 18 hours on a 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro with an M2 chip. Or you can browse the web for up to 17 hours on the same configuration. Furthermore, enabling the Energy Saver feature gets you an additional 30 minutes of web browsing.

Google doesn’t say how long the same MacBook would have lasted running the previous version of Chrome. That means it’s unclear how significant the new updates are.

While Google only provides specifics for the M2 MacBook Pro model, it says that older models should see performance gains as well.

M2 13-inch MacBook Pro battery lasts for 17 hours while browsing the web in Google Chrome.
M2 13-inch MacBook Pro battery lasts for 17 hours while browsing the web in Google Chrome.

Google detailed the changes it made to Google Chrome for the technically inclined. The company fine-tuned iframes to reduce short-term energy usage and reduce energy consumption. It also tweaked Javascript timers, so the MacBook’s processor wakes less often. This will also save battery life.

Furthermore, Google says it streamlined data structures and eliminated unnecessary redraws:

We navigated on real-world sites with a bot and identified Document Object Model (DOM) change patterns that don’t affect pixels on the screen. We modified Chrome to detect those early and bypass the unnecessary style, layout, paint, raster, and GPU steps. We implemented similar optimizations for changes to the Chrome UI.

What matters at the end of the day is having Chrome run smoothly on Mac without hogging resources and starting up the fans. You’ll need Chrome 110.0.5481.100 to get the new features and see whether they improve your MacBook’s battery life.

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.

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