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Google Chrome could stop your phone timing out while you’re browsing

Google Chrome
(Image credit: Google)
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A future Google Chrome update could let websites prevent your phone's screen from powering down automatically.

Chrome already prevents power-saving options kicking in if you're streaming video from a site like YouTube or Netflix, but according to a report by BleepingComputer (opens in new tab), it's possible that other sites could soon be offered the same ability.

This could be done using the WakeLock API (opens in new tab), a developer function, which lets sites request that the device suspend power-saving features like shutting down the display after when there's no input from the user.

Induced insomnia

There are lots of possible uses for WakeLock. For example, it could be used to stop recipe sites from timing out while you're busy mixing ingredients (forcing you to reactivate the display with flour-covered hands), keep long PDF documents on the screen while you read them, and make sure the display doesn't power down while you're watching a presentation.

As BleepingComputer notes, the API could also prevent sites from using messy hacks to prevent screens powering off (such as embedding a small, looping video element to keep it awake).

There is, however, some potential for misuse, particularly from cryptominers. It looks like there's currently no way to inform users that WakeLock is in use, but hopefully that will change if and when the feature is implemented.

Cat Ellis
Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)