Google's first Chrome for Apple's Mac with M1 chip hits a snag

Google's initial attempt at building Chrome for Macs with Apple's new M1 chip has been crashing unexpectedly.

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Google released Chrome 87 yesterday, as well as its first version of the browser for the new Apple Silicon M1 processor. But things haven't gone so well. 

Although Google didn't actually announce the release of Chrome for Apple's new processor, it had to hit pause on the rollout for the M1 version soon after it started because of the new browser unexpectedly crashing.

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It has now posted a support page confirming that Chrome has been experiencing unexpected crashes on Macs with the M1 processor, along with a workaround that may avoid the crashes. 

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"Earlier today we updated our Chrome download page to include a new version of Chrome optimized for new macOS devices featuring an Apple processor. We've discovered that the version of Chrome made available for download today may crash unexpectedly," said a Chrome support manager

The workaround for fixing the M1 version of Chrome is detailed at the bottom of this story. The other workaround Google suggests is to just uninstall that version of Chrome and install the version for Macs with an Intel chip. 

Google has identified a fix and will be making it available soon, according to the support manager. 

Chrome 87 – the last release for 2020 – otherwise ships with the "largest gain in Chrome performance in years", according to Matt Waddell, director of product on the Chrome team

Because Chrome now prioritizes active tabs, Google says it reduces CPU use by up to five times and extends battery life by up to 1.25 hours. Google also says the browser starts up to 25% faster and loads pages 7% faster than before, as well as using less RAM and power. 

Later this month Google will add tab search to Chrome by way of a list of open tabs that are open across multiple windows.  

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As usual, the new version comes with numerous security fixes, including one for the so-called 'NAT Slipstream' attack that allows attackers to turn Chrome into a proxy and connect to internal networks if the user visits malicious website.  

Here's Google's workaround for Chrome for Apple's chips if that version has already been installed:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Navigate to Security & Privacy.
  3. At the top, select Privacy.
  4. From the left, select Bluetooth.
  5. Below your approved applications, select add application (+).
  6. Select Google Chrome.
  7. Restart Chrome.

Google has confirmed that Chrome has been unexpectedly crashing on Macs, like the new MacBook Air, with the M1 processor.  

Image: Dan Ackerman/CNET
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