If you're a heavy browser user on the Android platform, chances are that you're using Chrome. When you first started using that browser, it was probably pretty zippy—but as time wore on, the browser slowed a bit until its performance degradation was noticeable. Or maybe, from your initial usage, Chrome never seemed fast enough.
No matter your case, I have a few tips that will help you speed up the Chrome browser on Android. None of these tips will require the installation of third-party software, and they're do-able by any level of user. Let's get to it!
It's really easy to forget you have that plethora of tabs open... until Chrome bogs down. When you have too many Chrome tabs open, your browser may slow down and your device can take a performance hit.
When you open up the browser, look for the small square with a number inside. Tap that number to open up the Chrome tabs overview (Figure A). Close any of those tabs you don't use by tapping the associated X.
Closing tabs on a Verizon-branded Nexus 6.
Clear the cache
Your browser cache can get out of control. Clearing the cache can clean out temporary and fragmented data. When the cache gets too full, Chrome can slow down. This is a very easy fix. Here's how:
- Open Settings
- Tap Apps
- Locate and tap Chrome (you might have to swipe to the ALL tab)
- Tap the CLEAR CACHE button (Figure B)
Chrome should now be a bit faster.
Clearing Chrome's cache.
Give Chrome more memory
Some websites are simply more demanding of memory than others. When you land on such a site, Chrome can come to a crawl. Why is that? By default, Chrome gets 128 MB of memory. For older devices, that should probably remain as-is. For newer devices, with over 32 GB of memory, you'll want to bump that up to gain more performance on demanding sites. Here's how:
- Open Chrome
- In the address bar, type chrome://flags/#max-tiles-for-interest-area
- Tap the "Go" button (which is probably a right-facing arrow at the bottom right of your keyboard)
- Locate the entry for Maximum tiles for interest area
- Tap the drop-down and then select 512 (Figure C)
- When prompted, tap the Relaunch Now button
Giving more memory over to Chrome.
The one thing you must take into consideration with maxing out memory for Chrome is that it will get priority over memory. This means that if you have a lot of apps open, and there isn't enough memory for Chrome, some of those other apps will be closed. On modern phones (especially flagship models), this won't be a problem. If, however, you find that maxing out memory for Chrome causes issues with other apps, lower the memory to 256 MB.
Turn on Data Saver
Chrome includes a handy little feature called Data Saver. When this is on, Google's servers reduce the amount of data that gets downloaded when you visit a site. This saves on your data plan, plus it has the added bonus of speeding up the loading of certain pages. There are a few caveats to this:
- Some sites may not be able to determine your location
- Some site images may appear fuzzy
- Internal sites (such as company CRMs) may not load
- You might have trouble logging into certain sites (especially sites for carrier billing)
If you're still interested in Data Saver, here's how to to enable it:
- Open Chrome
- Tap the menu button (three dots in upper right corner)
- Tap Settings
- Locate and tap Data Saver
- Tap the On/Off switch until it's enabled (Figure D)
Enabling Chrome's Data Saver.
After enabling and/or using all of these tips, you should see a noticeable improvement in Chrome's performance... all without having to use a single, third-party application.
Have you found a different way to speed up Chrome on the Android platform? If so, what was your method? Let us know in the discussion thread below.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.