How to stop Google Chrome from using excess RAM on Mac

July 19, 2020

Although Google Chrome is the most popular browser, one of the biggest complaints users have about it is the browser uses a lot of system RAM. So, when you look at its task manager and find an overwhelming number of memory-hogging processes running, don’t be surprised. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to stop Google Chrome from using excess RAM on Mac or keep it to a minimum, at least.

Chrome On Mac

Stop Google Chrome from using excess RAM on Mac

If you have multiple tabs opened in Chrome, the browser splits every tab and extension into its own process. As such, if there’s any event of misfortune and one thing crashes or freezes, it doesn’t bring down the whole web page or all of your open tabs at once. So, the method keeps your browsing session safe but leads to higher memory consumption.

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If you find that your Google Chrome is turning a greedy RAM hog you can configure it to stop using excess RAM on Mac. Here’s how!

  1. Enable Chrome’s Tab Discarding feature
  2. Kill errant browser windows & tabs under Chrome Task Manager
  3. Use Activity Monitor menu.

Why is Google Chrome using so much memory?

Every Chrome tab uses only a shared set of resources. Moreover, they do not communicate with each other, unless required. This helps individual tabs run independently. So, even if one tab or webpage crashes, other continue to run smoothly without affecting the performance of other tabs. Hence, at times, you may notice Google Chrome using excess RAM.

How do I reduce RAM usage on my Mac?

If you dive inside Activity Monitor on Mac, you’ll find the browser splits every tab and extension into a separate process, This causes excess usage of RAM. To fix it try the following methods.

1] Enable Chrome’s Tab Discarding feature

It’s been found that for every tab you choose to keep open, Google’s renderer process consumes around 50MB per tab. So, if you've got 10 tabs opened, Chrome will consume at least 450MB of memory, just to keep the background tab state. This is totally unwanted.

The tab discarding feature in Chrome allows you to automatically discard tabs that are unwanted especially when your system memory is running low on memory.

To enable this feature, type

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chrome://discards
Chrome Discards
Chrome Discards

A new page called chrome://discards will open, allowing you to discard some unimportant tabs that are currently open.

2] Kill errant browser windows & tabs under Chrome Task Manager

For this, click on the wrench icon located in the upper-right corner of the browser window.

Scroll down to ‘Tools’. Expand its menu to select ‘Task Manager’.

Sort by the Memory, the processes that are responsible for excessive RAM usage.

Terminate them.

3] Use Activity Monitor menu

There’s a process under Activity Monitor menu that passes by the name ‘Google Chrome Helper’. There’s no precise explanation about the kind of help the Google Chrome Helper offers or what its real function is. As such, you can end this process to stop Google Chrome from using excess RAM on Mac.

Chrome Excess Memory
Chrome Excess Memory

As you can see in the image above, it’s consuming almost 650 MB. This unusual spike in memory usage should ring a bell and if not required, the process should be terminated.

Hope it helps!

Image credits - Apple & Google

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Hemant Saxena
(408 Articles Published)

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