/>
X
Innovation
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

How to enable Energy Saver mode on Google Chrome (and why you should)

The latest version of Google Chrome, version 108, contains a new feature designed to extend the battery life of portable devices. Here's how to enable it.
A variety of browser theme backgrounds

A Google Chrome theme collection showcasing art from Native American artists. 

Google

Google Chrome is known as a bit of a resource hog on pretty much every platform you run it on. 

Also: 3 free Chrome extensions to help you be more productive in 2023  

In an attempt to make the browser a bit less of a drain on the batteries of portable devices, Google has rolled out a new feature called Energy Saver mode. 

How to enable Energy Saver mode on Google Chrome

It's currently an experimental feature that's not enabled by default, so you'll need to enable it.

Requirements

First, you need to be running version 108 or higher of Google Chrome on Windows, Mac, Linux, or Chromebooks. This version is rolling out to users as of Tuesday, Nov. 29. 

1. Check your Chrome browser version

You can check which version you are on by going to the browser's settings and choosing About Chrome, or by typing the following into the address bar and pressing Enter:

chrome://settings/help

If you are not yet running version 108 or higher, you need to update.

Also: The best Cyber Monday Chromebook deals still available

2. Enable the experimental feature

You can find experimental features by typing the following into the address bar and pressing Enter:

chrome://flags/

Note what it says on that page!

WARNING: EXPERIMENTAL FEATURES AHEAD! By enabling these features, you could lose browser data or compromise your security or privacy. Enabled features apply to all users of this browser. If you are an enterprise admin you should not be using these flags in production.

I've been using this feature in the beta version of Google Chrome for a month now and haven't suffered any ill effects, but if you are at all worried about bugs or crashes and such, this feature isn't for you.

If you do want to try out this feature, type the word "Battery" in the search box and look for the flag called "Enable the battery saver mode feature in the settings" in the list. Alternatively, you can type 

chrome://flags/#battery-saver-mode-available 

into the address bar and press Enter to go there directly.

The battery saver mode setting

The "Enable the battery saver mode feature in the settings" flag in Google Chrome.

 

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Find the flag, change the drop-down menu for the flag to Enabled, and then click Restart to apply the changes.

3. Select when the battery saver feature will activate

Once Chrome fires up again, click on the three-dots menu in the top right of the window and select Settings. There you should find an entry for Performance.

Make sure Energy Saver is toggled on and you'll see your two options:

  • Turn on only when my battery is at 20% or lower
  • Turn on when my computer is unplugged

Pretty self-explanatory, really.

Performance settings in Google Chrome

Performance settings in Google Chrome

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Google offers these "tips" for the feature:

  • To extend your device's battery for a long road trip or plane ride, turn on Energy Saver.
  • When Energy Saver is on, you may notice changes in gaming and video performance.

And that's all there is to it.

As I said earlier, I've had this setting enabled on both Windows and Mac systems for the past month, and not noticed any ill effects. It's hard to quantify how much battery life I gained, but there are days when I'm a very heavy Chrome user, and I did find that battery life was holding out a lot better than usual (I had the "Turn on when my computer is unplugged" setting enabled).

If you want to roll this setting back, head back to the "Enable the battery saver mode feature in the settings" flag and change the drop-down menu for the flag to Disabled.

Editorial standards