The web browser has apps that can run in the background and speed up the time it takes for your emails to synchronise, for example. These can be disabled
Q Recently, a Chrome icon has appeared at the far right of the Notification Area. When I click this, a menu appears with a few options, including ‘Offline Google Mail’ and ‘Let Google Chrome run in the background’, which is ticked. I did explore the Chrome Web Store recently and from there I remember installing something along those lines, because I thought it might be useful.
However, I haven’t used it since the first try and I don’t remember giving permission for Chrome to run in the background. I assume I can stop Chrome from running in the background by simply removing the tick from the menu option that I mentioned. But do you know why this happened in the first place? And what precisely is Chrome doing when it runs in the background?
A Around 18 months ago, Google updated Chrome to allow some apps to run in the background, meaning they could continue doing useful things even if the user closed the Chrome window – and Offline Google Mail is one such app. When you close Chrome, Offline Google Mail is able to continue synchronising your mailbox (at least, whenever there’s an active internet connection).
The advantage is that, when you next launch Offline Google Mail within Chrome, it takes minimal or no time to synchronise your email messages. The disadvantage is that by allowing this app (and possibly others) to run in the background, a small percentage of your computer’s resources may be occupied – and, of course, there’s another icon in the Notification Area.
As you don’t use Offline Google Mail, it makes sense to disable it, using the method you’ve already discerned. For others wishing to prevent Chrome enacting this option automatically in the future, first launch the browser, click the cog icon at the top-right corner and choose Settings.
Scroll down the page to find and click the Show advanced settings link, then click to remove the tick from the ‘Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed’ box near the bottom of the page.
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