Google is testing a new feature for Chrome that lets the browser 'freeze' tabs that have been running in the background to free up memory.
In 2015, Google introduced Tab Discarding as a way to reduce the amount of RAM used by the browser. Despite the name, this feature doesn't actually close tabs – it only suspends them when system memory is running low so they aren't reloaded in the background. The tabs still appear in the tab strip, and reload when clicked.
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The new feature, Tab Freeze, works in a similar way, but gives you more control over when background tabs are suspended, and for how long.
Tab Freeze is available to test in Chrome 79 Canary. To give it a try, visit chrome://flags/#proactive-tab-freeze and select one of the options from the drop-down menu. These are:
- Default (off)
- Enabled (unused tabs are frozen after five minutes)
- Enabled freeze – no unfreeze (tabs won't unfreeze until clicked)
- Enabled freeze – unfreeze for 10 seconds every 15 minutes
As Techdows explains, you can see the status of all your tabs at by going to chrome://discards. This page also allows you to load, discard or freeze tabs manually.
Thanks for the memory
Chrome is a notorious memory hog, so any features that can help control its demands are a welcome addition.
It's not clear if or when these new options will appear in the release version of Chrome though, and if they do, they might be a little complex for everyday users to understand. Hopefully Google will make the various options a little more transparent if it decides to implement them fully.
- Via Techdows