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Google Chrome Helper is appearing in Activity Monitor a dozen times and overall using a ton of memory. How do I curtail this? Most advice columns say to go to my plugins and check "Play on click", but Google updated the browser and this option is no longer available. What can I do?

  • 5
    Each "helper" is an open web page/tab. None of those are truly excessive, though definitely a bit heavy. Chrome is a well-known [anecdotally] memory-hog. Your 'fix' is to not leave tabs open if you aren't using them, unless you have sufficient RAM to spare.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 19:17
  • Is there another way? How can 1 tab be using half a gig of memory? That makes 0 sense!
    – markiv189
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 2:10
  • 1
    idk, but they do. I have tabs open here varying between 50MB & 1GB. Google's 'helpers' don't actually help you much as they don't include the URL. If you try the same in Safari you can at least see which tab is using the most [or site, as the URL is just the top level].
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 5:35
  • 5
    Access the Chrome task manager: More (icon on top right) > More Tools > Task Manager to see which of your tabs are using memory and where you can also end process for tab.
    – Edric
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 15:35

4 Answers 4


Every "Helper" is either a tab, a subframe, a core Chrome process or an extension.
You could reduce RAM usage by uninstalling extensions, or just using less tabs.


I figured it out. It was eating up over 300% of my mac's memory and making my computer heat up like an oven even though I've only had it for a few months. To solve this I opened Activity Manager (located in the utilities folder in the applications), and control-clicked on the google chrome helper until I got a window (had to double click). At the bottom of the window there was a quit button and I clicked it and it closed it out and my chrome still works fine.


I have quite a good experience with this "Google Chrome Helper" and how to debug the notorious problems on Mac.


In this case go to the 3 dots you find on the right upper side of your browser and then More Tools > Extensions, here you can have an overview of all your extensions.

Deactivate all of them and relaunch Chrome.

If the issue is resolved we can now point out that the issue was related to one of your Extension. But what extension? You can now reactivate one by one while you have your Activity Monitor open and see when the "Google Chrome Helper" is trigged.


Sometimes you can find the Chrome extension that is draining your CPU but you have to work and keep that Chrome Extension available. Or maybe that Extension is managed by your Company and you cannot disable it.

In this case you have to click on your Chrome account on your browser and sigh out from all of your Accounts.

Now close your browser, reopen it and "Google Chrome Helper" shouldn't bother you at all. Well, this is normal, because you are not signed in. Now Sign in into Gmail but don't never ever click on the "Turn on sync..." button

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Now you can also install the Chrome Extension that was giving you pain and you shouldn't experience any problem. Just don't touch that "Turn on sync..." button.


Well, in this case you are facing something I haven't faced myself. The only suggest you I can give you is to debug the issue by yourself. When the CPU is spiking high open the Activity Monitor and target the "Google Chrome Helper", look at that line and take the PID number (in the picture that you can see in the question is 29048).

Now open a terminal and run:

killall -9 29048

This way you have now killed the process itself. Try to spot what has changed in your Chrome: maybe an Extension has been deactivated, maybe a tab was closed, maybe a webpage has become unresponsive. Dig and you will find the solution.


You NEED to disable Flash in Chrome preferences/advanced/content.

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