Chrome Uses 10x More RAM Than Safari on macOS Big Sur in Comparison Test

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 21 Feb 2021

Google Chrome

Chrome is known to hog RAM irrespective of which platform you use it on. The Chrome dev. team has made multiple improvements to the browser over the years to reduce its RAM and resource usage but it still remains one of the heaviest browsers around. But how much exactly is the difference between Chrome and Safari in terms of RAM usage?

A comparison by Morten Just, the developer of Flotato, shows that Chrome takes up 10x more RAM than Safari on average. For testing, he installed macOS Big Sur on a virtual machine and then ran Chrome with two tabs open — Twitter and Gmail — and no extensions running in the background. With just two tabs open, Chrome was taking 730MB of RAM while Safari was 10x more efficient and consumed just 73MB RAM. Just for comparison, the developer’s own Flotato app consumed 63MB RAM with the same two tabs open.

In a 54-tab stress test, Morten noted that Chrome consumed an additional 290MB of RAM every time a new tab was opened while Safari consumed just 12MB. To be fair to Chrome, it is notably faster than Safari in web browsing. Additionally, the developer noticed that his MacBook Pro got hotter running Safari than Chrome showing that there are other child processes of Safari which are unaccounted for. This does mean that Safari’s RAM usage will be higher than what the developer notes.

Despite the inaccurate readings though, there’s no denying that Safari is more resource-efficient than Chrome. It is due to the lightweight nature of Safari that Macs are able to offer longer battery life than Chrome while browsing the web and streaming content. Apple also made some major improvements to Safari in Big Sur which improved the page load times of frequently visited websites by 50%.

Our Take

Safari might be more efficient than Chrome but the experience of browsing the web is far better in the latter. Safari tends to hang and crash a lot when loading heavy websites while Chrome can handle any number of heavy websites. Between Chrome and Safari, which browser do you use on your Mac?

[Via Flotato]