How to stop Chrome draining your laptop battery so fast

Chrome is a great browser in many ways, but in the past it has been criticized for using too much energy. It can drain the battery fast. Google has updated Chrome with battery saver mode.

There are two ways in which Chrome browser can irritate and one is the amount of memory it uses. This is especially noticeable when there are a lot of tabs open and gigabytes of RAM can be used. Google solved this by adding high efficiency mode. I showed how to enable it in Boost Chrome performance, reduce memory usage on PC and Mac. Although that setting focuses on memory usage, I think it will also help to reduce battery drain too, because it suspends unused tabs.

The other way in which Chrome irritates people is that it uses more energy or battery power than some other web browsers. This problem has also been fixed in the latest version of Chrome and there is now a battery saver mode that is designed to reduce the amount of energy required by the browser.

It saves power by placing limits on background activity, visual effects, animations and videos on web pages. They may be reduced or even stopped completely. Clearly, the greatest benefit will be when browsing websites that use a lot of these features.

You do need a laptop computer with a battery to use the energy saver feature of course. It is not for mains-powered desktop computers. The operating system does not matter and the feature is in Chrome for Windows PC, Apple Mac and Linux.

Update Chrome to the latest version

Battery saver mode is only available in recent versions of Chrome, maybe around 109 and later. Chrome updates automatically without any interaction, but instead of waiting possibly weeks for the next update, you can force an update right now.

Go to chrome://settings/help or click the three dots in the top right corner of the browser window to open the menu and then click Help > About Google Chrome. If there is a newer version of the browser available, it is automatically downloaded and installed. Restart Chrome after an update.

Enable Chrome battery saver flag

Enter chrome://flags into the address box in Chrome and a long list of advanced settings appears. There are many flags settings and these control the way the browser works.

Chrome battery saver settings flag: Screenshot

The easiest way to find the battery saver mode flag is to enter battery into the search box at the top of the page. Click the Default button on the right and then select Enabled on the menu that appears.

The new setting is not applied until Chrome is restarted, so click the Relaunch button at the bottom of the page.

Enable Chrome battery saver mode

Go to chrome://settings/performance or open the menu by clicking the three dots, click Settings and then select Performance in the sidebar. Normally, the Performance section is hidden and it only appears after enabling performance options in Chrome flags.

Chrome energy saver in the Performance section of Settings,
Energy saver settings enabled in Chrome flags

There are two options and one is to automatically turn on energy saver when the battery falls below 20%. The other is to automatically enable energy saver whenever the computer is unplugged from the mains and running on battery power.

Choose whichever option suits you best. Either way Chrome will use maximum power and performance when plugged in and the choice is whether to use battery saver mode all the time or just when the battery level is critically low.

Other ways to reduce battery drain

Another way to reduce the strain on your laptop computer’s battery is to limit the number of tabs that are open. Some people have 50 or more and this increases the amount of battery power required by Chrome. Ask yourself whether you actually need so many tabs to be open at the same time. As someone who doesn’t have 50+ tabs open, it is hard to imagine why anyone would need them.

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