High processor usage for Chrome under OS X Yosemite.
October 21, 2014 6:37 PM   Subscribe

How can I stop Chrome from killing my battery?

Since upgrading to Yosemite, Chrome takes up crazy processor usage on my Macbook Air, killing the battery in the process. It never drops below 45% usage under activity monitor, and every 10 seconds or so peaks up to over 120% usage.

I have the adblock plus, disconnect, and 1password plugins installed.

Is this known behaviour? Is Google working on a fix? I realize i could migrate everything to Safari or another browser, but I'd very much prefer not to do that if at all possible.
posted by modernnomad to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Exploring in activity monitor a bit more, I find that after a fresh restart of CHrome, the "google chrome helper" processes increasingly start to hang ("Not Responding) - after about 10 minutes, there's about 10 hung processes under Chrome. No idea if that is connected or not, but thought I'd mention it.
posted by modernnomad at 6:57 PM on October 21, 2014

The "Not Responding" thing is a known issue. It doesn't actually (necessarily) mean that something's wrong (aside from Yosemite's apparent inability to check to see if a process is responding).

Not sure about your actual problem. Chrome is running fine on Yosemite for me.
posted by acidic at 7:18 PM on October 21, 2014

As a data point - i have Chrome Version 38.0.2125.104 (the latest at this moment) and it does not use excess CPU on Yosemite.

If you have extensions, you may want to disable them and see if the problem goes away.
posted by nightwood at 7:19 PM on October 21, 2014

Oh - and you might also check the 'Task Manager' until 'More Tools' section
posted by nightwood at 7:21 PM on October 21, 2014

Chrome is running fine for me on Yosemite. How much RAM do you have?
posted by dfriedman at 7:34 PM on October 21, 2014

Chrome was making my install of Yosemite wig out right after I did the install---my menu bars weren't showing up! I uninstalled it and rebooted and the problem seems to have gone away...
posted by leahwrenn at 7:38 PM on October 21, 2014

Wired also covered this recently and suggested some workarounds: What Is Google Chrome Helper, and Why Is It Hogging My CPU Cycles?

As a separate data point, on Snow Leopard Chrome uses about twice as much CPU usage as Firefox when playing Flash Video. An Apple tech pointed it out to me, and experimentation showed clear differences. I don't it has anything to do specifically with Yosemite.
posted by meowzilla at 7:38 PM on October 21, 2014

I feel like these things have been effective for me, though I did the first three before Yosemite. What I thought was a computer with a dying hard drive turned out to be Chrome a) constantly paging in and out of virtual memory and b) constantly going through a big cache filled with a zillion files, both which, on a low-RPM laptop drive, mean beachballs and slowness and frustration. I verified the drive was fine with a couple of different tools and then did these things:

--Made Flash click-to-play. This has been no problem; I almost never need or want to play the Flash, and much content just switches over to HTML5, anyway.

--Cleared the browser cache. It was more than 2GB, which is way too big. There seems to be no easy way to set a maximum for the browser cache; Chrome assumes, since you have lots of free space, that it can go ahead and use it. The only way to control this is by launching Chrome from terminal with some commands attacheds, which is ridiculous and NO.

--Disabled some extensions I only use once in a while, or that don't really matter, like the one that makes emoji actually appear as emoji.

--Reduced transparency for windows. Not sure this helps but some people recommend it as a way of speeding up Chrome, and I like the look better, anyway.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:56 PM on October 21, 2014

PS: I'm pretty sure that the Activity Monitor is incorrectly reporting those Chrome processes as hung.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:58 PM on October 21, 2014

Chrome on OSX has been a clunky battery guzzler on OSX for years. They may address this latest issue, but I doubt it will ever be as battery efficient as Safari is these days. Take this opportunity to switch browsers.
posted by Good Brain at 11:37 AM on October 22, 2014

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