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Firefox 67: automatically unload unused tabs to improve memory

Mozilla plans to introduce a brand new characteristic in Firefox 67 Stable that goals to improve the browser’s memory utilization in low memory situations.

Browsers use much more memory than they did a decade in the past, partly as a result of web sites grew considerably in dimension and partly as a result of browsers modified as effectively.

It shouldn’t be unusual anymore that single tabs could use a whole bunch of Megabyte of memory, and there are circumstances the place memory utilization crosses the 1 Gigabyte mark for particular person tabs.

Memory usage, particularly on low memory gadgets, is a precedence for browser makers. If you run Firefox or one other browser on a four Gigabyte or 2 Gigabyte RAM system, you could expertise lots of caching if you happen to open sufficient or the correct of websites.

The idea of unloading tabs within the browser to unlock memory shouldn’t be a brand new one. Extensions like Dormancy, Suspend Background Tabs, BarTab, or Unload Tab for Firefox (all now not appropriate with Firefox 57 or newer), or Lazy Load Tabs, TabMemFree, or Tabs Limiter for Google Chrome, supported the performance for years

Mozilla improved tab unloading considerably in recent times.

If issues go as deliberate, Firefox 67 will introduce a brand new characteristic to unload unused tabs to improve memory. The preliminary bug report dates again eight years however work on the characteristic started in earnest simply a short time in the past.

Mozilla plans to unload tabs in Firefox in low-memory conditions to scale back the variety of crashes that customers expertise brought on by low-memory. The bug lists one other situation, to unlock sources, however it’s not clear but if and the way this shall be carried out.


Mozilla makes use of a easy precedence checklist to decide which tabs to unload when the occasion fires (from lowest to highest)

  1. Regular Tabs
  2. Pinned Tabs
  3. Regular Tabs that Play Audio
  4. Pinned Tabs that Play Audio

The characteristic is already obtainable in Firefox Nightly. It was turned on by default on my system however you’ll be able to management it with the choice browser.tabs.unloadOnLowMemory.

True means the characteristic is enabled, False that it’s disabled. It seems that it’s obtainable on Windows solely at this level as a result of its the one platform that Mozilla can detect low-memory situations on in accordance to the bug assignee Garbriele Svelto.

Firefox 67 shall be launched on May 14, 2019 to the Stable channel of the browser according to the release schedule.

Google carried out an analogous characteristic within the firm’s Chrome browser. Introduced in 2015, Tab Discarding in Chrome discarded tabs from memory if system memory reached a sure threshold.

Closing Words

Mozilla expects a drop in out-of-memory associated crashes in Firefox and plans to monitor these crashes within the coming weeks to check the speculation.

Now You: How a lot memory does your browser use, normally?


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