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How Google Will Make Flash Content Load Smarter in Chrome

battery plain tile

From MacBooks to Chromebooks – battery life is crucial

Chrome is to get smarter about the way it runs battery-sapping Flash web content.

Google has worked with Adobe, the makers of the power-hungry plugin, on a way to balance power efficiency without hiding popular Flash-based web content.

The result?

An intelligent auto-detect feature that only loads the primary Flash content on a page, like a video player or game.

Everything else is ‘paused’.

Google say the feature will “significantly” reduce Chrome’s power usage so that you can browse the web for longer without needing to dive for a charger.

Chrome’s power management… let’s call them ‘shortcomings’… are well known. A recent test performed on the new Apple Macbook showed using Chrome over Apple’s Safari web-browser uses reduces battery life by over three hours.

It’s On The Beta Channel Now

intelligent flash chrome setting

Smarter in a click

If you’re on the Google Chrome Beta channel you will automatically enrol in the new ‘intelligent’ flash behaviour shortly.

If you’re saddled up on the developer channel you can also ‘opt-in’ to the feature from the ‘Content Settings > Plugin’ section in Settings:

  1. Open Chrome’s Settings page
  2. Click the “Show advanced settings” link at the bottom of the window
  3. Under the “Privacy section” click the “Content settings” button
  4. Under the “Plugins” section select “Detect and run important plugin content”

Once enabled all Flash elements secondary to the main activity you’ve visited the page for, be it watching a video or playing a game, will ‘intelligently pause’ until you click on them.

Google say they’ll be  rolling out further improvements to power consumption in the coming months.

A quick tip for those who would prefer to load ALL flash content on demand, when they want it so that nothing is chomping away in the background, is to select the ‘Let me choose when to run plugin content’ option.


  • A new default setting will ‘intelligently pause’ irrelevant Flash content on web-pages
  • The feature will help improve battery life when Chrome is running
  • Other plugin management options, including ‘play on demand’, remain available
  • Beta channel users will receive the update starting today
  • ForSquirel

    I just can’t believe that for as long as it’s been on the web Flash just hasn’t been any better.

    • Drew Ciccotelli

      Why get better when they are a bloated monopoly that everyone was forced to use without alteration?

    • Horux

      Unless Adobe can charge for it, they’re not devoting resources beyond security

  • I’m not on the beta channel and I was able to change the setting.

    • The setting is available on all channels. What’s changing here is that it is being set as default, starting on the beta channel.

  • Ex Post Facto

    It’s been a really long time since I’ve installed flash on any computer.

    • Horux

      Jobs was definitely right

    • liamdools

      Browsing the web must be a pain for you then. Unless you use a Chromebook where that’s built in. If not, I’m guessing you use mobile sites?

    • Probably because it’s bundled with Chrome now?

  • Muhd Faezin (Tiago – Rio 2)


  • Rowdy Scarlett

    Thank you, Google. Thank you.

  • Claude Champagne

    They should force HTML5 video when possible, like the ClickToPlugin extension for Safari on Mac. Even if you disable Flash, Chrome is still draining the battery more than Firefox and other browsers.

    • KDGNOR

      ClickToPlugin for Firefox or Chrome?? :D

    • Horux

      they wouldn’t be able to count on Adobe’s help with that plan though.

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  • Virgil Q Staphbeard

    What’s flash?

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  • Degru

    What we really need is for Google to fix the timing issue on the Windows version of Chrome… it’s the only browser that has that issue. My battery life has increased quite noticeable since I switched to Firefox and removed Chrome entirely…

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