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Chrome Will Discard Your ‘Least Interesting’ Tabs To Free Memory

Chrome Discarded Tabs Page

A new power-saving feature is heading to Google Chrome automatically ‘discards’ background tabs to free up memory.

The approach is being trialled in the latest Canary channel builds for Windows and Mac.

‘Chrome will only discard tabs it considers ‘least interesting’ – but how does it decide interestingness?’

But don’t panic: tab discarding does not mean your idle tabs will be forcibly closed. Rather, discarded tabs are temporarily suspended to allow the resources it was using to be allocated elsewhere.

Only tabs that Chrome considers ‘least interesting’ are affected.

Not that you’ll notice when you have discarded tabs as the actual tab (the bit with the favicon and title on it) remains fully visible in the tab strip as normal. The page will instantly reload when switched to, meaning the only real giveaway that something has been suspended is when you go to use it.

When system memory gets low will Chrome’s discarding feature will kick in to kick out the ‘least interesting’ tabs squandering resources.

Exactly what sort of tabs might Chrome consider interesting is unknown for now, but let’s assume high-priority tasks, like a half-written WordPress post or anything else that would throw a modal confirmation should you try and close it normally, are safe.

It will be static web-pages, like a Wikipedia article, that you haven’t looked at for a few days, that Chrome will consider “least interesting”.

The feature is just another prong in Google’s fork aimed at tackling Chrome’s various memory issues. And the fewer tabs left chugging away, less memory the browser needs to keep from doing other, more useful things.

How to Enable Tab Discarding in Chrome

Tab discarding is available for Chrome Canary testers to toggle on (behind a flag, naturally).or toy with manually through a new internal page.

To enable automatic tab discarding in Chrome on the latest Chrome Canary build for Windows or Mac (Linux users will be able to join the fun when the feature hits the Dev channel) just switch on this flag:


Relaunch Chrome as prompted and the feature should work as and when it’s needed.

To manually discard (‘suspend’) background tabs you can play with the options on the following page, available in the latest Dev or Canary channel release of Chrome on Windows or Mac:


Click the ‘discard’ button next to a listed tab and it will silently suspend it.

Do you think this is a good idea? Do you use an extension that performs a similar function? Share your take in the comments below. 

  • ForSquirel

    This should be interesting. For me the only tabs that stay static are google pages (gmail, music, calendar etc.)

    • Degru

      Well, pages with media actively playing wouldn’t be discarded. And Gmail periodically refreshes to check for mail, so it wouldn’t be discarded either.

  • vas

    Hi! When I try to install chrome os on Lenovo Z50 laptop, wifi drivers are not working. So unable to install chrome OS. Can you please help me on that issue. Thanks a lot.

    • fredgrip

      go to lenovo website from other computer. download and install it the laptop

    • ChromeDude

      This is not really the website for that information – you’d be better off looking on a support or developers forum.

  • Damien Bifidus

    I use “the Great Suspender” for that, an addon who do mostly the same thing (it disable pages based on time they haven’t been seen – and an exclusion list).

  • Jan Studebaker

    I think this is a great idea, particularly for those of use with limited RAM.

  • fredgrip

    I have so much confident on chrome on my mac now. ever since the plugin switch my macbook battery has shoot up to 7-8 hrs. more tweaks are coming and thats a good thing

  • matbonucci

    This would maybe make use chrome again…

  • Degru

    This shouldn’t behave the same way as closing tabs. It should behave in a similar way to how Windows Phone 8.1 does memory management. Background apps get their memory contents dumped to storage and read back when you switch back to them. If Chrome did this with tabs, it would work with all tabs, even those half-written WordPress pages, and would also reload faster since it wouldn’t need extra processing to reload the page. (Some pages take ages to load on my Thinkpad x120e)

  • Hopefully they don’t do it as aggressive as how they implemented it on mobile.

    • But in mobile it’s great. I usually have 50+ tabs open and my device doesn’t lag because of this.

  • HeyRadar

    I think this is great! I use Chrome ‘Tab Suspender’, but having this built into Chrome would be more beneficial. It does need to have the ability to provide exceptions, as there are some pages that if they are suspended could cause you to lose work.

  • Please, let us know when this reaches stable! ^^’

  • Onaj Tamo

    But what if you are writing something really long in a tab, then as you are researching the topic you are writing about, chrome decides the tab you were writing on has become unimportant, and it just dumps everything you wrote out of memory(deletes it)?

    • I don’t think it would consider a tab where a “are you sure you want to close” prompt (like a blog editor, or doc, etc) “least interesting”. It’s more for background pages that don’t really _need_ to be in the memory if not looked at for a while, like a static wikipedia page, news article, etc.

      • Onaj Tamo

        How about a post on an average forum, without closing confirmation?

        • Chrome is smart in that it knows what types of elements are loaded on a page, so I suspect it would rank anything with some kind of entry field “higher” in priority than one that doesn’t.

          That said, we’ll probably only really find out what this affects as folks use it more and start shouting about things going wrong…

          • Onaj Tamo

            Yeah we won’t know until implementation.
            On the other hand this looks like it will be a parts of Chromium, so I can’t wait to test it on Ubuntu.

  • zoomer296

    if (Tab = not interesting) {
    Suspend tab;
    } else {
    Archive for NSA data collection;

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  • Allan CaiVay Kwek

    can chrome stop discarding wetransfer? I actually use that frequantly for work