Firefox 67: Automatically unloading memory for unused tabs

Mozilla plans to introduce a new feature in Firefox 67 Stable, which aims to improve the usage of low memory browser memory.


Browsers use much more memory than a decade ago. This is partly because websites have increased significantly in size but also because browsers have changed their functionality.

It is no longer uncommon that individual tabs can use hundreds of Megabytes of memory and there are cases where memory usage is catching 1 Gigabyte in some of them.

Memory usage, especially on low memory devices, is a priority for browser manufacturers. If you run Firefox or another browser on a system with 4 RAM or 2 Gigabyte, you may experience problems due to large caching if you open several or the right kind of sites.

The concept of downloading tabs in a browser to free up memory is not new. Extensions for Firefox, such as Dormancy, Suspend Background Tabs, BarTab, or Unload Tab (no longer all compatible with Firefox 57 or newer), or respectively for Google Chrome Lazy Load Tabs, TabMemFree, or Tabs Limiter, have been around for years .

Although Mozilla has significantly improved the unloading of tabs in recent years, Firefox 67 plans to introduces a new feature to unload unused tabs to improve memory and reduce the number of crash conditions. The original error report for excessive memory usage is dated for eight years, but work on the new feature began seriously just before.

Mozilla uses a simple list of priorities to determine which tabs to get rid of when the conditions trigger the application of the new feature (from lowest to highest)

1. Normal tabs
2. Pinned tabs
3. Regular tabs that reproduce sound
4. Pinned tabs that reproduce sound

This feature is already available in Firefox Nightly. The Firefox 67 will be released on 14 May 2019 on the Fixed Browser channel, according to the release program.

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Google has implemented a similar feature in the company's Chrome browser. 2015 was introduced, like Automatic Tab Discarding in Chrome settings, and discards the tabs from the memory if the system memory reaches a certain limit.

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