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New Canary Feature Prevents Chrome from Quitting When Apps Are Running on Mac

chrome running apps after quit on macChrome Apps are great, but if there is one drawback to using them on Mac OS X it’s that they quit when Chrome does.

Souped-up offline appeal, near-native features and growing system integration aside, the fact that Chrome apps vanish when the browser is closed — something fellow finger fudging shortcut fans will know is super easy to do — serves as a jarring reminder that despite appearances these are not traditional applications.

Prosaic guff aside, it’s also really annoying. Accidentally quit Chrome and your apps go with it; Chrome crashes and your apps go with it.

Keep Chrome Apps Alive on Mac

First of all, if you’re accidentally quitting apps a lot go and turn on Chrome’s built-in quit warning feature.  Secondly, relax a bit because help is on the way.

The proving ground that is the Canary channel recently added a new flag to Mac builds that allows Chrome Apps to remain running when Chrome is quit — intentionally or otherwise.

With it enabled, you can quit the browser as normal but, and this is the key difference, your applications don’t go with it. Now, technically, the main Chrome process doesn’t actually stop running, at least not in a truly definitive way. Instead, Chrome Apps are able to ‘keep it alive’ in the background so that they still can continue to run uninterrupted.

Each time you do this Chrome displays a notification letting you know it is still running. This offers an option to ‘quit all apps‘, and the choice to hide the message from showing in the future. 

When all Chrome applications are closed Chrome is no longer ‘kept alive’ and will silently exit in the background.

No word on when, or if, this will be made default behaviour. But alongside experimental Finder integration, it certainly would make sense.

You can enable it yourself in Google Chrome Canary for Mac via chrome://flags/#apps-keep-chrome-alive.

  • Boothy

    I’m sure you can already enable chrome to run in the background on Windows. You don’t have to have the browser open to run Chrome Apps.
    Course if Chrome crashes, everything goes though…………..

    • Kenny Strawn

      Yeah, used Chrome stable last fall on Win7 at Saddleback College during my JavaScript class… Chrome apps do indeed run without the Chrome browser running.

  • Raginkestrel

    I have been using this feature on Windows for a while now. I also can’t remember the last time Chrome has crashed. I have had tabs crash, but the browser never died completely.