Google Chrome is a very popular browser despite being infamously greedy with your computer’s resources. If you feel like Chrome is starting to get slow, there are a few things you can do to speed it up again.
We’ll start with the simplest thing you can do: Make sure Chrome is up to date. This will ensure that you always have the latest improvements and optimizations for Chrome. The browser will usually install updates automatically, but you can check for and install updates on your own to be sure.
RELATED: How to Update Google Chrome
Chrome has a feature that allows it to “predict” which links it thinks you might open and preload them in the background. That way, if you do click the link, it will already be partially loaded.
You can enable this feature by going to Settings > Privacy and Security > Cookies and Other Site Data. Toggle the switch on for “Preload pages for faster browsing and searching.”
Chrome has some built-in tools to help mitigate the performance impact of having a lot of tabs open, but keeping your tabs tidy on your own will help even more. It’s also better for your brain.
There are a couple of things you can do if you’re someone that constantly has tons of tabs open. The easiest thing to do is use Chrome’s Reading List and Bookmarks features. That way, you can save pages for later without actually keeping them open in a tab.
As the name implies, Chrome’s Energy Saver feature is intended to help improve battery life when your laptop is unplugged. However, it can also be used to speed up performance in a pinch.
Energy Saver limits background activity, visual effects, and video frame rates. Limiting those things helps stretch out your battery, which is a result of Chrome not asking your computer to work as hard. You can only use Energy Saver if your computer is running on battery or below 20% power.
Hardware acceleration is a feature that allows Chrome to take advantage of your computer’s GPU to speed up processes. Hardware can perform some functions faster than software running on the CPU alone.
When enabled, Chrome will utilize your computer’s GPU for graphics-intensive tasks, like playing games and watching videos. It’s typically enabled by default but can be disabled if there are driver compatibility issues. You can ensure it’s enabled by going to Settings > System and toggling “Use hardware acceleration when available.”
If you feel like Chrome is particularly sluggish, there might be a rogue extension causing it. Chrome has its own built-in task manager that lets you see what’s running in the browser—extensions, web pages, and apps—and how many resources each individual thing is using.
Chrome’s task manager shows each tab and all the extensions that are currently running. You can see the memory footprint and CPU usage. If something is using too much, you can simply end the process and see if that fixes the problem.
The task manager can be found from the three-dot menu in the top right corner of Chrome, under “More Tools.”
Similar to how you might have apps on your phone that you don’t use anymore, there are probably some extensions in Chrome that you could get rid of. They could be running in the background and eating up resources.
Regardless of performance, it’s generally a good idea to routinely check up on your extensions. Chrome gives you the option to “Disable” or uninstall extensions. Disabling will keep the extension installed, but it won’t be able to run.
Chrome collects a lot of data while you’re browsing to improve your experience. All this site data, cookies, and cached images and files can add up over time. Occasionally clearing this data can potentially lighten up your browser, but it also means you’ll need to re-sign-in to websites.
There are two ways to do this. First, click the three-dot menu icon in the top right of Chrome and select “Clear Browsing Data” under the “More Tools” menu. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Del. Both methods will bring up a menu with options for clearing the data.
The “nuclear option” for speeding up Chrome is performing a browser reset. This will essentially bring Chrome back to the way it was when you first installed it while still saving some of your personal stuff.
A browser reset will reset the search engine, homepage, startup tabs, new tab page, pinned tabs, content settings, cookies, site data, extensions, and themes. However, it will not erase your bookmarks, browser history, or saved passwords.
You can perform a browser reset by going to Settings > Reset and Clean Up > Restore settings to their original defaults.
Browsers tend to get slower over time, and Chrome is certainly no exception. Keep these tips and tricks in mind to routinely give Chrome a little performance boost.