First, close tabs you don’t need.
At my peak, I would sometimes have over 30 tabs open. This is apparently one of the worst things you can do, because the more tabs you have open, the slower Chrome runs.
“I know folks who have dozens and dozens of tabs open, which is a recipe for disaster,” says Nicholas De Leon, a CR technology reporter who has more than a decade of experience covering laptops, tablets, and wireless routers. “Rather than keep all of these tabs open, I’d recommend bookmarking sites you intend to come back to.”
You can also try Tab Suspender, a Chrome extension that suspends the activity of tabs you’re not using to save up on memory, says Richard Fisco, who oversees electronics testing at CR.
Update your browser.
Click on the three-dot menu icon in the upper-right corner of the browser. Go to “Help” and then “About Google Chrome.” Chrome will check for an update, and you can click on “Relaunch” to initiate it.
Use an ad blocker.
An ad blocker can eliminate a lot of the crud that comes with the web—like resource-heavy ads, which use up a lot of data—and lessen the chance of running into malware, Nicholas says. He recommends uBlock Origin, an open-source extension for content filtering, including ad-blocking.
Delete unnecessary extensions.
Click on the three-dot menu and go to “More Tools” and then “Extensions.” You can turn off or remove any extensions you’re not really using to help speed up Chrome.
Close unwanted tasks.
Go to the three-dot menu and click on “More Tools” and then “Task Manager.” Look for tasks that are using a lot of resources, like a video or an app, and close them if you’re not actively using them.
You can sort by memory size, which helps you find the biggest offenders that could be slowing your browser down, says Antonette Asedillo, who leads CR’s computer testing.
Clear your browsing data.
Doing so will help free up memory and protect your privacy better, Richard says. Go to “More Tools” under the three-dot menu and click on “Clear Browsing Data.” You can clear cached images and files, which can take up a lot of space, as well as your browsing history and cookies, Antonette says.
Let Chrome open pages faster.
You can enable “Page Prefetch,” a setting that predicts the pages you might open next and preloads them. Click on “Settings” underneath Chrome’s three-dot menu. Go to “Privacy and Security” and then “Cookies and Other Site Data” to turn on “Preload Pages for Faster Browsing and Searching.”
Enable hardware acceleration.
If you click on the three-dot menu and go to “Settings” and then “System,” you can turn on “Use Hardware Acceleration When Available,” Richard says.
Check your computer for malware.
If you’re using a Windows computer, you can go to “Settings” under the three-dot menu in Chrome. Click on “Advanced,” then “Reset and Clean Up,” and then “Clean Up Computer,” which will help you scan for unwanted software and remove it for you.
If you’re using a Mac, you can go to “Finder” on your computer and click on “Applications.” If you see any programs you don’t recognize, move them to “Trash” and then “Empty Trash” when you’re done.
And if you’re looking to buy a new computer, it’s good to get one with as much RAM (memory) as possible. Chrome, in particular, eats memory like it’s its job, as Nicholas colorfully describes, so if there’s more of it to go around, you’ll run into fewer headaches in the future.