If you’re an Android user, chances are you’re also using Chrome for Android. The ubiquitous and controversial browser is most peoples’ go-to on mobile devices, thanks to its irresistible combination of speed, handy features, and customizability. So when Chrome for Android slows, there’s a good chance you can dig yourself out of trouble and speed it up again by making a few tweaks here and there. Here’s how to speed up Chrome on Android.
Clear the Cache
The cache can be your best friend and your worst enemy. On the one hand it saves various images, usage information, and other tidbits of data on your device, theoretically making apps that much quicker to open. On the other hand, the more cluttered your cache gets, the more likely errors are to occur and performance can take a hit.
So get into the habit of clearing your Chrome for Android cache every now and then.
Go to “Settings -> Apps -> Chrome -> Storage,” then click “Clear Cache” to hopefully unclog and speed up your browser.
Use Data Saver
Data Saver is one of the most under-appreciated features of Chrome on Android devices. It compresses every website you visit into a less data-consuming version, having the knock-on effect of saving on device memory and in turn improving performance. Bear in mind that certain sites don’t respond well to this feature, and you may get small malfunctions like unclear images on certain sites.
With that in mind, to turn on Data Saver, go to the Chrome app, tap the three-dotted “More” icon and go to “Settings.” Under the “Advanced” heading, tap “Data Saver” and tap the slider to switch it on.
This handy function anticipates the kind of websites and pages you’re going to visit based on your past browsing habits. Essentially, it partly pre-loads your more frequently used sites before you even visit them. Naturally, this takes up more data, so be mindful of that.
To enable prefetch in Chrome, tap the three-dotted “More” button and go to “Setings -> Privacy,” then tick the box next to “Use a prediction service to load pages more quickly.”
Increase Number of Raster Threads
Images are often the thing that most slows down the speed at which websites load. This is largely down to “raster threads,” which control how fast Chrome loads images. The more raster threads, the faster images render, so you should try increasing the number of them from “Default.”
To do this, go to
chrome://flags/#num-raster-threads, click the drop-down menu, and increase the number to 4.
This bag of tricks should get you well on your way to a faster browsing experience. Regular maintenance of Chrome is also important, however, so remember to clear your cache every now and then, and also play around with the above settings if you’re experiencing any problems since activating them. (You could, for example, decrease the number of raster threads from 4 to 3 or turn off Data Saver.) With the variety of Android devices available, there’s no guarantee that all these tricks will work perfectly on all of them, but they certainly helped us here.
This article was first published in May 2014 and was updated in September 2017.
Image credit: HP 14R Chromebook