How to troubleshoot Chrome problems on a Mac

With more than 3 billion users, Google Chrome is the king of web browsers, but if you’re here, it’s probably because the king has gone a bit mad. Is Chrome running slow, crashing, freezing, or not even loading? Or maybe your browser experience is getting slower every day?

If you’re experiencing any of those Chrome problems, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to show you how to troubleshoot and resolve common Chrome problems that make you feel like Google hates Macs.

Is it your Mac or Chrome that is slow?

Chrome isn’t an independent entity; it’s a part of a whole Mac system. So before you deal with Chrome, make sure the problem isn’t in your macOS. A quick example — the outdated system caches causing your Chrome plug-ins to crash. Or is your Mac gasping for free space?

A clever path is to give your macOS a good cleanup first. We like CleanMyMac X app for this purpose, as it finds and cleans all redundant and conflicting files across all your folders. So, take 2 minutes to tidy up your Mac with CleanMyMac X. Here’s how:

  1. Download CleanMyMac X for free here — this app is notarized by Apple, so no worries.
  2. Install and open the app.
  3. Click Scan.
  4. Once the scan is complete, click Run to remove junk files, get rid of any malware that may be lurking around your system, and run tasks to optimize and speed up your Mac.
CleanMyMac X - Smart Scan complete

How to fix most common Google Chrome problems on Mac

Troubleshooting Chrome issue is not a too complicated task. All you have to do is follow the steps below one by one. 

If you’re ready to fix Chrome, let’s begin!

1. Chrome battery drain

Chrome is known for its fast performance, which it gets by using your Mac’s CPU more than other browsers. But more CPU usage means more battery drain. If you use your laptop on the go, this can become a huge issue. What good is performance if your battery is completely drained and you can’t turn on your Mac?

If Mac battery life is important to you, then there’s a simple trick that should be a big help. Often there is a tab or an extension that is hogging your resources and burning through your battery life by itself.

Follow these steps to find the offending site or extension:

  1. Open Chrome and choose Window in the top menu.
  2. Click on Task Manager.
  3. In Task Manager, click the Memory Footprint column to sort them.

Now you can determine what sites and extensions use up the most memory in Chrome. You can still visit one of these sites but maybe don’t leave it open in a tab anymore. Also, remember that even sites that aren’t memory hoggers can still be a battery drain if you have a lot of tabs open.

Close resource-hungry and unnecessary tabs, and the time you get from a battery charge should start to improve.

2. Chrome is running slow

Does Chrome on your Mac feel like browsing through a swamp? If browser responsiveness is slowing, it’s time to drain the swamp.

Why is Google Chrome so slow? We mentioned earlier that Chrome is resource-heavy, especially on your CPU. Chrome is fast when your Mac has the resources available, but when they are limited, and Chrome is demanding more than your Mac can give — swamp time.

The tip from the previous section will help a lot, but if you’re still experiencing slowness, there are other fixes you can turn to.

Let’s start by focusing on the cache. Chrome loves storing lots of your web browsing data. At first, it can help speed things along, but soon Chrome’s pockets are being weighed down by cache, particularly if your Mac is low on space or memory.

To manually delete your Chrome cache on Mac:

  1. Open Chrome and choose Chrome in the top menu.
  2. Select Clear Browsing Data.
  3. Check the history, cache, cookies, and other types of browser data that you want to delete.
  4. Click Clear data.

Again, there’s another method for clearing out your cache, cookies, browser history, autofill form data, and a whole lot more. You can use the free version of CleanMyMac X. There’s surely no easier way to manage not just the cache that’s slowing down Chrome but also your privacy and security — if these things are important to you (they should be).

To delete Chrome cache and other browsing data with CleanMyMac X:

  1. Download the CleanMyMac X for free and open the app.
  2. Go to the Privacy tab and select Chrome.
  3. Select what you want to clean.
CleanMyMac X - Chrome in Privacy tab

Or you can even use CleanMyMac X’s System Junk cleanup tool that not only removes Chrome cache files but also gets rid of “temporary” files that clog up your system. So, hopefully, your browser will get a bit snappier.

3. Сhrome using significant energy on Mac

“Chrome using significant energy” may be a sign of general memory overload on your computer. Try opening your Activity Monitor and checking off a few memory consumers.

  1. Open the Launchpad and type in Activity Monitor in the search bar.
  2. Now, sort by Energy and use the [x] button to quit a process.

Disable background synchronization

There’s another setting that may help you out. Sadly, it’s buried too deep in Chrome’s Settings, but according to many users, it should greatly reduce energy consumption by Chrome.

  1. Open Chrome and go to Settings (the 3-dot icon in the top right corner).
  2. Select Privacy and security > Site Settings.
  3. Scroll down and click Background sync.
  4. Use the selection to disable the background sync.

What does it do? It stops the websites from communicating with your Mac (even after you’ve left that site). Why was it enabled by default is a different question.

4. Chrome keeps freezing

Your browser is not just slow as a snail but keeps freezing? A spinning circle appears for a while? This is ordinary trouble with web browsers after continued use. And it may relate to the problem with the browser cache.

We’ve already told you how to remove the Chrome cache, so just go to the previous section and choose the way that works best for you: manual or easy one. Hopefully, this will help you to get rid of the spinning beach ball and fix the freezing issue.

Other ideas to try:

  • Close all tabs.
  • Restore settings (Settings > Reset settings).
  • Log out from all your Google accounts and log in back again.
  • Try browsing in an incognito window and see if that helps.
  • Reinstall Chrome from scratch.

Some services, like Dropbox, Alfred, and, notably, Google Drive, are constantly self-updating in the background. As in the previous step, you can use Activity Monitor and force-quit these processes. 

5. Google Chrome is not responding

However, if your browser is not responding at all and you can’t open the menu to clear the cache, browsing history, or delete extensions, try to force quit Chrome and then open it again. 

There are a few possible ways to force quit Google Chrome. Here is our comprehensive guide to How to force quit Mac applications that offers five different ways to deal with unresponsive apps. Pick your favorite one.

There are a number of background plug-ins operating invisibly on every Mac. They could be various helpers, updaters, and everything else that supports the main application. For example, Chrome itself has an updater app that constantly communicates with the server. So, once again, go to your Activity Monitor and scan through your open processes. Try quitting anything Google-related there.

Another idea to try is to free up your RAM (random access memory) in the Terminal. This should unfreeze your Chrome, at least temporarily.

  1. Open your Terminal app (you can find it via the Launchpad search).
  2. Now, paste in sudo purge into the Terminal window.
  3. Hit Return.

See if Chrome is feeling better now.

6. Google Chrome keeps crashing

Chrome freezing is one thing, but crashing? That’s a much bigger issue as it’s a sign that something is broken. But what do we do with things that are broken around here? We fix them!

Probably the most common cause of crashes is a byproduct of one of Chrome’s strengths — its constant stream of exciting extensions. They make our browser experience more enjoyable and productive, but occasionally one of these extensions will be corrupted or introduce a bug that causes Chrome to crash.

Here’s what you should do to find a problematic Chrome extension.

Update your browser

Make sure Chrome is updated to the latest version. A new update could very well include the fix that will stop Chrome crashing.

Run a Safety check

The latest version of Google Chrome has a feature called Safety check. Go to Chrome Settings and select Safety check from Privacy and Security on the left. Click Check now. The browser will run a quick check to determine whether Google Chrome is up to date and protected from threats.

Turn off browser extensions

If that didn’t work or everything was already up-to-date, you can manually turn off your extensions and turn them back on, one at a time. This way, if the crashing goes away until a certain extension is turned back on — that’s when you’ve probably found the problem.

To turn off browser extensions manually:

  1. Open Chrome and go to Window > Extensions.
  2. Disable a few extensions or click Remove to completely delete them.
  3. Restart Chrome.

Spend some time using Chrome without extensions, and then slowly turn each one back on until your crashing returns. When you think you have the culprit, simply click the Trash can next to that extension in Settings > Extensions.

An even easier way to manage your extensions is with CleanMyMac X. You get more control over all your extensions, even those from other browsers, and disabling and removing them is as easy as can be.

To disable Chrome extensions the simple way:

  • Click on the Extensions tab in CleanMyMac X.
  • Click on Chrome Extensions and disable them as you like.

7. Chrome won’t open

Here’s the list of hacks you can try if you want to repair Chrome. When Chrome won’t open, the easiest is to restart your Mac. But that could be a bit disruptive. So here you are, some alternatives:

  • Press and hold Command + Q — this will quit Chrome.
  • Press Option + Command + Esc — opens a Force Quit window.
  • Uninstall Chrome and download it again.

If that doesn’t help, there’s a possibility that the problem is Google folder permissions.

8. Web pages not loading in Chrome

“Aw snap!”

This is Chrome’s custom message for when a web page fails to load. If you get this cheeky little message or any other loading error, chances are you’re going to fail to see the funny side.

The reasons for Chrome not loading pages can be wide-ranging and hard to pinpoint, but we’ve collected a checklist of fixes for you to work through:

  • Check your internet connection.
  • Update Chrome.
  • Restart your Mac.
  • Remove Chrome extensions (for steps, see Google Chrome keeps crashing section).
  • Disable or relaunch hardware acceleration.

Hardware acceleration is supposed to speed up your Chrome at the cost of your Mac’s hardware resources. But quite often, this feature crashes things. Hardware acceleration is found here:

Chrome > Settings > System

If you’re still unable to load web pages, a reset or reinstall of Chrome may be needed. We cover that very fix in the next section.

9. Chrome update failed

Chrome won’t update? Some users have experienced the frustration of Chrome refusing to update on a Mac. The first step would just be patient, but if days have passed and you’re still not getting anywhere, a reset or reinstall of Chrome may be in order.

To reset Chrome manually:

  • Open Chrome and go to Settings.
  • Scroll to the bottom and click on Reset Settings.
  • Read the pop-up and Reset.
  • Reopen Chrome and try to update.

Note: Resetting Chrome this way will not remove your bookmarks, history, and saved passwords. 

Reset Chrome with CleanMyMac X:

A manual reset can be a bit scary, but as a workaround, you can use CleanMyMac X to reset Chrome. In this case, though, you will lose any information and data, such as caches, browser history, customized settings, and extensions. Here’s how to reset Google Chrome using CleanMyMac X and its Uninstaller module:

  • Open CleanMyMac X.
  • Go to the Uninstaller tab and find Google Chrome in the list.
  • Click Application Reset in the dropdown menu next to the Chrome icon.

If the browser is still not updating, download the latest installation file from the web and reinstall Chrome.

10. Google Chrome closing itself

Some users report that Google Chrome closes itself. The main problem is that it occurs unexpectedly without any obvious reason. Still, there are some fixes to try out: 

  • Update Google Chrome if you haven’t done so yet.
  • If an update does not help, reinstall Chrome (delete the app and install it once again, but make sure to download it from the official website).
  • Clear the cache following the instructions outlined in step 2.
  • Try to disable all extensions and then enable them one by one, checking if the problem occurs. 
  • Update macOS version by going to System Settings > General > Software Update and following the on-screen instructions if an update is available. 
System Preferences - Software Update

How to setup Chrome

That’s it. Hopefully, these fixes have made your web surfing better than it’s ever been. It just goes to show that even drastic problems like Chrome crashing can be solved with a little know-how and helpful apps like CleanMyMac X.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!

    Laptop with CleanMyMac
    CleanMyMac X

    Your Mac. As good as new.