Chrome will soon warn you if too much storage is being used

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 29, 2020
Updated • Jun 29, 2020
Google Chrome

Google plans to introduce a new feature in the company's Chrome web browser soon that will inform users if too much storage is being used.

New web technologies give sites and applications lots of options, and that includes storing data in manifold ways on user devices. One of the issues associated with this is that it is difficult to keep track of how much data is stored by apps or websites.

While it is possible to check using third-party tools to find out how much storage space a browser and all its components require, e.g. File Explorer on Windows 10 or the excellent WizTree, browsers don't provide detailed information about storage requirements.

Chrome users may use internal tools to clear data, e.g. to clear web storage or browsing data, but the browser does not warn if free disk space reaches a critical level on the device.

The upcoming change, which will be enabled by default in desktop versions of Google Chrome, changes that. A new experimental flag is added to Chromium and Chrome that is called "Enable storage pressure UI".  Flags are used by Chromium developers to introduce features in the browser that are not yet ready for wider distribution.

Once enabled, Chrome will trigger a notification when a site's attempt to store data would reduce free disk space below the 15% threshold. Google plans to set a "once every 24 hours" threshold for the feature to avoid notification overload.

The notification is triggered by attempts to use quota managed storage APIs such as IndexedDB or AppCache.

Note that the feature does not address Chrome's own storage use on a device.

Changes to clear site data

chrome clear site data

A mockup published on the Chromium bugs tracker suggests that Google plans to improve  the clearing of site data dialog as well in the near future. The prompt will display additional details on what is being cleared when the function is executed in the browser.

Chrome users can clear site data by clicking on the icon in front of the address of the active site and selecting Site Settings from the menu that opens; this opens a new page and the option to delete the data is displayed at the top of that page. Only data associated with the active site will be deleted when the operation is executed. Users need to use the general option to clear browsing data in Chrome if they want to clear data for all sites in the browser.

Now You: How much storage space does your browser take up currently?

Chrome will soon warn if too much storage is being used
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Chrome will soon warn if too much storage is being used
Google plans to introduce a new feature in the company's Chrome web browser soon that will inform users if too much storage is being used.
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  1. ULBoom said on June 30, 2020 at 2:24 am

    FF with just this site open is using about 200 MB.

    Our browsers are set to delete everything when closed. Syncing isn’t a concern, so no reason to save obsolete data. If sloooooow browsing, lots of personalized ads, spam, redirection, messages and calls from idiots are OK, then OK.

    Google calls Chrome something like “Browser based user ad data collection software” in their quarterlies.

    Not that much of the data collected is good after a few weeks anyway; maybe Mr. Goog is just trying to make sure you always have room for this week’s bolus.

    Google’s an ad company, they do nothing to their products that isn’t related to ad revenue; they’d be neglecting shareholders if they did.

  2. Tom Hawack said on June 29, 2020 at 11:15 am

    Generally speaking about storage on modern browsers I dislike, disapprove and disable all available concerned settings. I remain anchored to the idea that only cookies are to be stored on a user’s browser profile, not to mention that these cookies’ permissions must be tightly chosen and managed by the user.

    Referring to Firefox browser,

    – Cookies are set to session only, deleted nevertheless with ‘Cookie Autodelete’ Firefox extension when exiting a site. Cookies meant to be kept are set to ‘Allow’ in Firefox and ‘Keep’ in ‘Cookie Autodelete’.

    – LocalStorage is handled in the same way as cookies with above mentioned ‘Cookie Autodelete’ (option).

    – Firefox is set to clear all except ‘Site Preferences’ and ‘Cookies’

    – IndexedDB is reserved here ONLY for Firefox extensions and I refuse to grant permission to sites for laying there whatever data. To do so I use the ‘API-Killer-IndexedDB’ Firefox extension (available, signed, only on the developer’s GitHub repository). Nevertheless some sites manage to bypass this extension’s blocking, in which case I set this site’s permission for cookies to ‘Block’ even if their IndexedDB data is removed after closing Firefox given cookie permission is set to session only by default.

    Be noted : Blocking cookie permission blocks permission for a site to access localStorage and IndexedDB as well. For instance, AMO, YouTube (and several others!) lay data in my IndexedDB folder which is why I block cookies permission for them.

    – Offline cache is disabled (browser.cache.offline.enable=false)

    Period. I see friends’ browsers filled with cookies, localStorage and IndexedDB with dozen of entries and I start to cry — only — when they share their concern with privacy; if they tell me privacy is an old concept and that their only worry is security, I point out that both are often tied, and if they say neither is their concern I get into a big laugh and we carry on with coffee or beer.

    1. ULBoom said on June 30, 2020 at 2:48 am

      Really. Phone Culture’s been gradually conditioned to hand over, bit by bit, an entire life to expensive inane “Services” apps as they provide free marketing support to the various species crawling the web furtively hoping to become a brainless Influencer so they can look back at where they used to be until the scam is uncovered and it all collapses. Canceled! You against millions, Oops.

      Yeah, give it all away, everything; from head to toe, front and back. Brilliant career path!

  3. John G. said on June 29, 2020 at 9:47 am

    I don’t understand why there is not an option to cache all data in RAM, as it is possible in Firefox. RAM is faster than HDD or even SDD (at least considering my system I can affirm this).

    1. Nico said on June 29, 2020 at 11:58 am

      In Chrome you can let it store it’s browser cache on a Ramdisk.

      Let’s say your Ramdisk resides on R:\
      Right-click your Chrome shortcut and select Properties from the menu. Add the following switches to the shortcut:
      –disk-cache-dir=”R:\Chrome” –disk-cache-size=536870912
      (cache size of 512 MB)

      1. Nico said on June 29, 2020 at 2:35 pm

        That’s double-dash in front of disk-cache-dir and disk-cache-size.
        This blog software messed it up…

      2. John G. said on June 29, 2020 at 6:07 pm

        Thanks, I didn’t know it could be done that way. :D

  4. Iron Heart said on June 29, 2020 at 7:51 am

    I have set Brave to delete cache and cookies upon closing the browser anyway, but this hint is useful still, in case someone is running out of storage space.

    1. Anonymous said on June 29, 2020 at 11:01 am

      Why delete cache & cookies routinely?

      1. Pants said on June 29, 2020 at 7:05 pm

        > Why delete cache & cookies routinely?

        It’s not paranoia. Local persistent web data (cookies, localStorage, IndexedDB, service worker cache, and others) are used for linkability – not just across third parties, but **across sessions** for first party.

        Iron Heart is just practicing good hygiene


      2. The Equestrian said on June 29, 2020 at 11:53 am



      3. Bobby Phoenix said on June 29, 2020 at 6:53 pm

        Exactly. LOL I couldn’t tell you the last time I cleared anything in my browsers. The only time I can think of is maybe a year ago when a site was acting up, and I figured it was cache/cookies for it. Other than that I have more than enough storage/RAM on my PC, so I don’t care how much space it uses.

      4. Iron Heart said on June 29, 2020 at 8:53 pm


        Cookies are a means of tracking, and so are eTags within the browser cache. There is no good reason whatsoever to keep them any longer than necessary. This has nothing to do with “paranoia”, as @The Equestrian falsely assumes, it’s a very basic form of privacy protection.

        @The Equestrian

        Hey Equestrian, look at all those spyware parts your browser actively runs while mine has them either completely removed or deactivated:

        You basically say caring about privacy is “paranoia”. Color me surprised – you are a Chrome user as per your other comment, you probably consider privacy to be dead anyway.

        @Bobby Phoenix

        Deleting cookies and cache is primarily an anti-tracking measure, not a measure to free storage space. The total storage space occupied by cookies and cache is negligible. You are totally missing the point.

      5. Sebas said on June 30, 2020 at 6:42 am

        @ Iron Heart You are right. Deleting cookies and cache when closing is one of the options I always use in Brave. Except for when I am logged in with my Google account, but that is only used in one user account, separated from the others.

  5. ilev said on June 29, 2020 at 7:43 am

    Chrome Version 84.0.4147.68 (Official Build) beta (64-bit) + extensions take 1GB of RAM (click shift + esc in Chrome) with 2 tabs open.
    Windows 10 1909 Pro with 16GB RAM.

    1. The Equestrian said on June 29, 2020 at 8:28 am

      Chrome Version 83.0.4103.116 (Official Build) (64-bit) with Nano Adbocker + Nano Defender and 5 pinned tabs each with an anime episode being loaded into them and paused takes up 400MB RAM.

      Running on Windows 10 2004:

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