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Google: Here's how we're changing Chrome to improve battery life for your Mac

The Google Chrome browser team detail changes they've made to make sure your Mac battery lasts longer.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
typing-on-a-mac
Image: Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images

Google has detailed some improvements to Chrome that make it less of a battery drain on Macs with Apple's latest M2 silicon. 

Google claims its tests with the latest version of Chrome running on a 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro with an M2 chip allows users to browse for 17 hours or watch YouTube for 18 hours on a single charge. 

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Google ran the tests in February 2023 using Chrome version 110.0.5481.100 on the MacBook Pro model with 8 GB RAM running MacOS Ventura 13.2.1. It measured Chrome's performance using its own open-source benchmark suite.

And with Chrome's Energy Saver mode enabled, it claims users can get an extra 30 minutes of browsing time on battery-only. 

Google hasn't compared Chrome to Safari this time. Last year, it claimed Chrome 99 was 7% faster than the then-current builds of Safari.

François Doray, software developer for Chrome, details a number of changes that deliver performance improvements to M2 MacBooks -- and older models, too. 

The key changes focus on how Chrome handles iframes, JavaScript timers, data structures, and Document Object Model (DOM) change patterns. 

Google fine-tuned garbage collection and memory compression heuristic for recently created iframes after realizing that frames "live just a few seconds". As frames were created, power consumption used to go up, and now power is steady. 

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Google has also changed the way JavaScript timers fire in Chrome, so that the CPU wakes up less often. It's also adjusted internal timers to cut the frequency of CPU wake-ups. Targeting DOM inefficiencies, it scanned websites with a bot to find DOM "change patterns" that don't affect pixels on the screen. So, Chrome has been updated to bypass unnecessary style, layout, paint, and gpu steps. 

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