If you spend a lot of time browsing online, you might be wondering why your Chrome tabs keep refreshing, and whether there’s anything you can do to stop it. That annoying flickering out of the corner of your eye does drive some people mad. You might not know it, but Chrome has its own memory management function, known as “Tab Discarding and Reloading,” that helps to pause inactive tabs so they don’t use up too many resources. This works alongside Chrome processes to try to reduce the significant overhead the browser brings with it. The idea is to save as many resources as possible for all types of devices. Chrome will load the page when you request it and keep it in memory. If you have lots of spare RAM, it will sit there until you need it. If you begin using up your RAM, the tab is put to ‘sleep’ and the memory released to be used elsewhere. Then, when you want to use that particular tab, Chrome requests a fresh page from the web rather than using the local one in memory. This is why if your internet goes out you can still se the last update of the page as long as you don’t manually refresh it.
By saving your RAM and decreasing your CPU load, you can stop your tabs from refreshing and help speed up your Chrome experience significantly. No matter whether you’re on a brand-new laptop or an older PC with limited RAM, memory can be a scarce resource that is always in demand. If you use lots of tabs and push your memory to its limits, this can result in a lot of data being requested over and over again. While most of the time this results in a minor annoyance, if you’re filling in an online form or using a shopping basket in an online store, this can really ruin your browsing experience. So, we’ll have to take a look at fixing our Tab Discarding and Reloading to solve this.
You can turn off tab discarding within Chrome settings and I’ll show you how to do that in a minute. You do have to be aware, though, that if you do turn it off, Chrome may use up all available memory if you have enough tabs open and not automatically release them. This can cause your browser and honestly perhaps entire device to slow down.
As long as you’re okay with that, here is how to stop your Chrome tabs refreshing.
- Open Chrome or a new tab.
- Paste ‘chrome://flags/#automatic-tab-discarding’ and hit Enter.
- Change the setting from Default to Disabled.
- Restart Chrome for the change to take effect.
You could also use the ‘chrome://flags’ and then search for ‘discard’ to arrive at the same place. Either works. As long as you change the setting to Disabled, you will turn off the discarding feature.
Drilling down into discards
If you want to know more about Chrome and tab discarding, there is a neat page that tells you all about it within Chrome.
- Open a new Chrome tab.
- Paste ‘chrome://discards’ and hit Enter.
You should see a page like that last image that looks like a Google Sheet. It shows all tabs open in Chrome, its perceived order of priority and whether each tab can be automatically discarded or not. You can even see how long each tab has been open for in the Last Active column.
If you want to turn off automatic tab discarding and your PC begins slowing down, you can either shut down some tabs or check this page to see which tabs have been open for what amount of time. If you select the Database tab on the page, you can even see how much memory each tab is using. This could be useful if you need to free up some RAM.
Just identify a tab with the most memory footprint, go to Discards and select Urgently Discard for that tab. Check and see if this helped you. If not, rinse and repeat until your device returns to normal.
I will be honest and say that the vast majority of users should leave automatic tab discarding enabled on their devices. That is especially true if you’re on a mobile. Only if you find the refresh delay really annoying or are into shaving kilobytes from your data plan do you need to mess with this. Otherwise, this is one of those settings that is best left well alone.
Have you disabled automatic tab discarding? Does it make life better? Tell us your thoughts below!