In normal and light web browsing, Google Chrome uses 10 times more RAM than Safari on macOS Big Sur, according to a test conducted recently.
In a personal blog post, Flotato creator Morten Just said he put both browsers to the test in two scenarios on the latest version of macOS.
The first test was performed on a virtual machine and the second on a 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro with 32GB of RAM. In the first test, Just simulated a typical browsing style of opening Twitter, scrolling down a news page, then opening a new tab with Gmail and composing an email.
In that test, Just found that Chrome hit 1GB RAM usage, while Safari used only 80MB RAM. However, testing two tabs is just the beginning.
With 54 tabs open, Just found that Google Chrome uses 24 times more RAM per tab than Safari. Neither browser, according to Just, doesn’t have any extensions, and this particular test was performed on his own MacBook Pro, not the virtual machine. According to the findings, Chrome used 290MB RAM per open tab, while Safari used only 12MB of RAM for each open tab.
While the results were clear, Just said that Google Chrome is likely “trying to manage its memory usage on tabs”, in an effort to keep the current tab “fast and responsive”. In his tests, Just also found that his own app, Flotato, a lightweight alternative to Chrome that builds apps based on web pages, uses significantly less RAM than both Safari and Chrome.
Chrome is known to be a very memory-consuming browser on both Mac and Windows computers, a problem that Google recently tried to solve, but has not really worked out.
As for macOS Big Sur, Safari has received important updates that help it outstrip Chrome more and more. Apple says Safari on macOS Big Sur “loads webpages typically 50% faster on average than Chrome” and that Safari also offers up to 1 and a half hour longer video playback time and up to 1 hour longer normal browsing on one charge, compared to Chrome and Firefox.
However, there are comments that the above measurements may not be accurate.