New Chrome experiment promises better battery life

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 8, 2022
Google Chrome

Google is testing a new feature in Chrome Canary and Dev versions of the company's web browser that may improve battery life according to Google.

chrome quick intensive timer throttling

Called Quick Intensive Throttling after loading, the feature throttles JavaScript activity much earlier if the pages are loaded in the background.

When pages are loaded in the background in Chrome, the browser will throttle them after 5 minutes. The new feature reduces the period to 10 seconds, which improves battery life of the device.

The change affects the throttling of web pages that are open in the background in Chrome. Chrome throttles wake up JavaScript timers to 1 per minute, but only after a tab has not been active for 5 minutes. The change starts the throttling much earlier, and this has a positive effect on battery life.

Google notes on the experiment's Chrome Status page that it noticed "significant improvement (~10%) to CPU time when all tabs are hidden and silent". While it may happen that all tabs are "hidden and silent", e.g., when a user steps away from the device, gains will be less than that in most cases.

Currently, wake ups from JS timers are throttled to 1 per minute after the page has spent 5 minutes in the background [1], which is very conservative and was chosen to allow a launch of Intensive Wake Up Throttling with minimal regression risk, so we’re considering of reducing this timeout to 10 seconds if the page is loaded when hidden.

Chrome users who run Dev or Canary versions of the web browser may enable the new feature in the following way:

  1. Load chrome://flags/#quick-intensive-throttling-after-loading in the web browser's address bar.
  2. Switch the status of the experiment Quick intensive throttling after loading to Enabled.
  3. Restart the browser.

The feature is enabled by default after the restart, and Chrome will throttle JavaScript on background pages earlier as a consequence.

Google notes that it did not experience any issues during internal testing of the feature. If you notice issues, you may undo the change by setting the status of the preference to Default or Disabled.

The experiment is available for Chrome on all supported platforms.

Now You: do you care about your browser's battery life?

New Chrome experiment promises better battery life
Article Name
New Chrome experiment promises better battery life
Google is testing a new feature in Chrome Canary and Dev versions of the company's web browser that may improve battery life according to Google.
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  1. Anonymous said on July 11, 2022 at 11:12 pm

    As someone who usually has 50+ tabs open in Chrome, I would be pleased if no JS ever ran on pages in the background. Once the page has loaded for the first time, it should do nothing until I click on that tab again, in which case it should display what’s already there whilst checking in the “background” whether the page needs to be reloaded.

  2. John G. said on July 9, 2022 at 5:13 pm

    The best way to save battery with Chrome is just using Edge/Firefox. Thanks for the article! :]

  3. JohnIL said on July 9, 2022 at 1:39 pm

    How long has Google been promising better battery life for Chrome? I think most browsers suck at battery life these days. They are all bloated messes trying to be useful in every possible scenario instead of just being a browser.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 9, 2022 at 5:09 pm

      Since the very beginning probably. Google’s main problem is that many ads drain battery quickly. Was not there a study on the effectiveness of content blockers in regards to battery life?

  4. ChromeFan said on July 8, 2022 at 2:53 pm

    Google has blessed us with another feature. All other so called browsers are in Google’s shadow, it will take at least 5 years for them to catch up.

    Can you imagine the internet without Google? I can’t. It would be like the wild wild west. Let us thank the lord for the existence of Google, and its presence on mankind.

    Everyone should care about the battery life of a browser. They normally hog the
    most battery, but that is going to change because of Google.

    1. duh said on July 8, 2022 at 6:13 pm

      go out more often to see the sun

    2. thebrowser said on July 8, 2022 at 5:55 pm

      I think you are ready to up your nickname from “fan” to “adept” or even “acolyte” :D

  5. thebrowser said on July 8, 2022 at 11:43 am

    By pages loaded in the background, does it mean pages loaded as a result of network prefetching? Or links opened with “Open link in a new tab”?

    Btw, third article about Chromium in three days. Some people (with a Heavy Heart) would call this over-reporting.

  6. userpassadmin said on July 8, 2022 at 10:19 am

    Nice, introduced CPU intensive features (worker, frameAnimation, laggy CSS3s…) then implement fixes.

  7. Yash said on July 8, 2022 at 8:15 am

    Who could’ve thought allowing javascript activity once either in foreground or background would save battery instead of allowing it all the time? Even better technology is to throttle background activity most of the time or don’t load background pages at all based on user’s recent activity like in present Chrome. But that makes sense and Chrome is exactly opposite.

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