October 22, 2014

Your Chrome Browser is Draining Your Battery

chrome browser drains battery

The idea that Google’s Web browser Chrome is draining your laptop battery is beyond urban legend.

The company admitted recently that Chrome does put a strain on your laptop’s battery power, namely its ability to hold a charge for very long while it’s running. And recently, Google said it has assigned a team to come up with a fix for the bug and is working on a solution.

The problem was first brought to Google’s attention in 2010 by a contributor at Forbes.com.

A thread on the Chromium bulletin board has nearly 3,400 comments on the issue. The first problem on that thread was posted in September 2012. Some users are irate that it has taken so long for Google to address this issue.

The problem is that the browser fails to return your laptop’s processor to an “idle state” when it’s just running in the background. That would happen if, for example, you have Chrome open on your computer but you’re working on another app, like Office or something else. The problem with batteries draining occurs when you run some power-intensive website, for example watching videos on YouTube. Chrome increases your computer’s system clock tick rate to 1 millisecond but never goes back to a lower rate when you’re off the site. Other browsers will lower that rate once you’re done watching a video or doing some other intensive online activity.

PC World reports:

“By comparison, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer only ramps up the tick rate for processor-intensive tasks such as YouTube, and otherwise returns it to the default rate of 15.625 milliseconds. According to Microsoft, setting the tick rate consistently at 1 millisecond can raise power consumption by up to 25 percent depending on your hardware configuration.”

Google hasn’t provided a timetable for the fix on Chrome, though. So if you’re using the browser for business purposes and you find yourself frustrated by a shortened battery life, you may want to consider another browser until Chrome is fixed.

This bug shouldn’t be an issue if your laptop is plugged in more often than not. Another workaround for the bug would be to close Chrome when you’re not using it, especially if your laptop is unplugged.

Battery Photo via Shutterstock

9 Comments ▼

Joshua Sophy - Staff Writer


Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering technology and business news. He is a journalist and editor with 15 years experience in media. A former newspaper reporter and editor, Joshua also serves as President of the Board of Directors of a curling club and is editor of a regional newsletter focused on the sport of curling in the Eastern U.S.

9 Reactions

  1. Interesting. Does this happen on all laptops? I use Macbook Pro. Does it also affect iPads and iPhones?

  2. You know it’s a problem when you’re getting compared to Internet Explorer and IE makes you look bad ;)

  3. This is a shame because I’ve been a fan of Chrome from the beginning. I rarely unplug my laptop so I never noticed. I tested this a few days ago and sure enough, the battery went WAY too quickly while I was using Chrome. I hope this gets fixed quickly because I hate the idea of switching browsers.

  4. Why has it taken them this long to fix it? They’ve known of this for four years. And they still haven’t said when it will be fixed?

  5. This is like telling people to switch browsers just because Chrome is affecting the computer in the negative way. What’s surprising is that they admitted it even if it can have a negative effect on their brand.

    • Chrome is my preferred browser for its simplicity and its usual non-crashability. This is on the back of being driven away by IE and Firefox.

      Switching browsers is a solution, but people chose Chrome for a reason.

  6. How has such a major bug that gone unfixed for so long not received more media attention.

    I use several different web browsers to check for comparability issues on the company’s site, but use Firefox for my personal browsing as I find Chrome to be somewhat of a resource hog. Needless to say, this article has nothing to convince me otherwise.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Josh, I think Google experiences quite a number of issues with some of its products. So, I don’t know, maybe that could be why this didn’t get much media attention, because it’s part of other issues that come up.

  7. I noticed Chrome draining my phone’s battery faster than other browsers but I never thought it also happens to my laptop. I don’t think it would affect my use of Chrome, however.

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