Treating a processor-hogging Chrome browser


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A reader who wishes to be known as Frustrated in Frisco has an issue with Chrome. The frustrated one writes:

The past couple of weeks, my MacBook Pro’s fan has been going crazy: Coming on suddenly and roaring like a jet taking off. I opened Activity Monitor to learn what was giving my CPU such a workout and Google Chrome Helper processes were consuming 50 percent or more of my CPU resources. Is there anything I can do about this?

You mean other than switching to a different browser? I wish there was a silver-bullet solution but this is a problem for a number of Chrome users and ultimately the solution will have to come from Google’s Chrome team. Should this public shaming not cure the problem overnight, here are a few things you can try.

Choose Chrome > Preferences > Extensions and disable any extensions you don’t absolutely need. In this same window click Settings, click Show Advanced Settings, click Content Settings in the Privacy area, and in the Plug-ins area of the resulting window, enable the Click To Play option.

chrome activity

An unmodified Chrome can tax your Mac's processor.

While you’re there, click the Disable Individual Plug-ins link (or enter Chrome://plugins in the address field) and disable plug-ins that you don’t absolutely need. As the Adobe Flash Player plug-in appears to be one of Chrome’s primary processor hogs, I’d suggest disabling it first. (This may mean having to do without videos that auto-play on some web sites.)

Run Chrome for awhile and if your Mac’s fans start spinning again, choose Window > Task Manager and click on the CPU heading. This will provide you with a readout of which Chrome elements are diverting your processor’s attention from more important jobs. If you spy some that can be switched off, do so.

If, at the end of all this, you find you’ve basically disabled all those features that you liked about Chrome, again, turn to another browser until Google finds a solution.

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