Chrome’s Latest Version Finally Prevents Open Tabs from Crushing Laptop Batteries


A new version of Google chrome is out and if you frequently use the browser and open lots of tabs on your notebook, you will want to download it right now. This version of Chrome finally helps to stop open background tabs running on your laptop from running your battery life reports Gizmodo. Previously tabs open in the background on Chrome still used power and CPU time even if you weren’t looking at them.

The version of Chrome that takes your battery life back is version 57 and it does so via a new throttling policy for background tabs. The new policy is based on how much CPU consumption any given tab consumes whereas the old throttling policy was simply based on how often a function on a page runs.

Under the new policy each background tab is assigned a time budget for running processes in the background. Once that tab is in the background for ten seconds it becomes subject to limits on how much CPU wall time it can consume. The browser also limits background tabs to using no more than 1% of a CPU core. According to the Chrome team the new throttling policy means 25% fewer busy background tabs which mena 25% less of a power drain on your laptop battery from busy tabs.

Chrome does have some caveats to what tabs it will throttle though. For instance tabs in the background playing music won’t throttle and tabs that are using WebSockets or WebRTC like video chat apps and messaging apps won’t be throttled. Eventually Chrome aims to suspend background tabs completely. That goal will require some popular webpages to be redesigned though and isn’t expected to be available until 2020.