March 5, 2018

Why is Chrome so Slow on Mac? (How to Actually Speed It up)

Chrome is the preferred web browser for thousands of users as it seamlessly syncs across devices and effectively integrates with all of Google’s products. But this makes it especially annoying when the usually speedy web browser slows to a snail’s pace.

Luckily, we’ve got a couple of ways that should help Chrome get back to the peak condition in no time, allowing you to get back into the swing of things as quickly as possible.

Note: there is no one-fit-all solution that can speed up Chrome like magic. A slow Chrome is usually due to a specific cause, or in many cases a combination of several.

Let’s get started to pinpoint before getting them fixed, and make your Chrome browser fast again.

Reason #1: Your Cache is Beyond Overworked

Maybe you’ve heard this one before — but for a good reason! The cache seems like the mysterious fix-all solution for dozens of tech issues, but it’s actually very important to keep up to date on.

The cache is the temporary storage file where Chrome stores frequently used information in order to load that information faster. However, once this very limited space becomes full, the browser can’t react as quickly to new sites that you want to load and becomes bogged down searching for information.

To fix this, you just need to clear the cache. First navigate to the top right of chrome, where there is an icon with three dots: then choose MORE TOOLS > CLEAR BROWSING DATA. You’ll be prompted to pick a time range, in this case, “all time” is your best bet. You should also check all of the boxes.

It will take a bit for your Mac to speed up after doing this since it will need to rebuild the important parts of the cache. But overall, you should see performance pick up pace pretty quickly.

Wait…for those of you who are using CleanMyMac 3 (if you’re not, you should), it’s even easier to get this done. Just open the app, go to Privacy, select Chrome, then Cookies, and hit the “Remove” button.

By the way, CleanMyMac also does a number of other things. It’s an app that we use and recommend for most Mac users unless you’re super tech-savvy 🙂

You can learn more about the app from the official MacPaw site here.

Reason #2: Chrome is Outdated

It’s easy to close the reminder box and postpone updates, especially when they require restarting apps you installed or worse, the whole computer. But these updates are critical to the functionality of any application, including Chrome.

Checking for an update in Chrome is super easy. First, look for the three dots icon in the top right of the browser. If there’s an update waiting to be installed, the icon will be one of three colors:

  • Green: An update has been available for two days
  • Orange: An update has been available for four days
  • Red: An update has been available for more than a week

If any of these are showing, you’ll see an option to “Update Google Chrome” at the top of the three-dots menu. If this option isn’t present and the icon is colored, then you’re running the latest version of Chrome, and this isn’t your problem.

Reason #3: Flash is Always Enabled

Besides the fact that Apple has a tumultuous history with Adobe Flash, the plugin has always been known to be a drag despite its frequent necessity. Luckily, you can change a single setting to force Flash to ask your permission before it activates on any page, which will prevent Chrome from unnecessarily loading Flash elements and slowing down your whole browsing experience.

To do this, go to the Chrome menu and choose SETTINGS near the bottom. Note: This page may look different depending on whether or not you have signed into Chrome.

Once in settings, either choose “Privacy” or scroll to the bottom of the page and pick “Advanced” and then find “Privacy”. Then choose CONTENT SETTINGS and find the label for Flash. Here you’ll be able to pick “Ask First” for running flash.

After this has been changed, you’ll see a small dialog box in the top left of Chrome anytime a page wants to run Flash, which you can accept or deny at will.

Reason #4: You’re Using Overzealous Plugins/Extensions

Some people are avid proponents of extensions, gladly installing anything they think will help. Others can’t understand the hype. However, extensions and plugins have a profound impact on the day to day operation of your Chrome browser, so they’re a good place to check for issues when the application is acting up.

First, you’ll want to see which extensions are currently running by opening the Chrome menu, then choose MORE TOOLS > EXTENSIONS

This will open a new tab listing all of your extensions. Disable all of them by unchecking the box on the right side that says “Enabled” (you don’t have to delete them).

Then, relaunch Chrome and see how things run. If you see an improvement, you know one of your extensions is to blame and can systematically enable and disable them to figure out which it is. If you don’t see a difference, then this probably isn’t your problem and you should try a different method listed here.

Reason #5: It’s not Chrome, It’s Your Internet

Has all else failed to fix your slow Chrome problem? Maybe it isn’t Chrome that’s slow in the first place — the culprit could be your internet connection. This is also fairly easy to check, and you have a couple different options to do so.

The easiest one is to run Google’s speed test by simply googling “speed test”. The first result will be an option to run the test. Once you do, your results will show in a small box and will even help you determine if your internet is performing up to par.

If you’re a gamer or techie and also want to know your ping rate, you can use speedtest from Ookla, which will also provide quick and accurate results of your internet speed.

You can compare any results to this internet speed chart that will identify whether or not yours is performing as advertised. If it’s not, then it may be time to contact your provider (ISP) about your service quality.

Also, since your MacBook is probably connected via Wi-Fi, and it’s often possible that your Internet router needs help getting the Wi-Fi signal to part of your house or apartment where your laptop locates. In this case, all you need is a Wi-Fi repeater like this one from TP-Link to extend your WiFi network for ultimate performance and coverage.

Final Words

A slow browser is the bane of modern existence. You can’t check your email, research pages for work and school don’t load, and even when you just want to have a bit of fun with an internet game or Buzzfeed article you’re cut off.

Hopefully, this guide has given you a starting place for fixing the problem, but we’d love to hear your solutions as well! Leave us a comment below if you’ve ever fixed a slow Chrome problem or tell us what you tried that didn’t work.

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