Facebook is a Background Resource Hog on Your Mac, Too

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After years of being overlooked, there's recently been a lot of attention paid to Facebook's iOS app and it's over-use of background resources. Facebook has indicated they're aware of – and working on – the problem. Let's all say a word of hopeful thanks for that.

Unfortunately, it's not just your iPhone that's being overworked by Facebook. Facebook runs rampant when its website is loaded in your Mac's web browser, too, using more RAM than just about every other app – and definitely every other web page – you have open.

After only being open – and left in the background – for twenty minutes, Facebook had consumed almost 700MB of RAM, for no good reason. Presumably this is because it's constantly auto-loading new content and not jettisoning old stuff. If so, this problem is fixable. Twitter's web page used to be like this and then they changed their auto-loading scripts to be quite a bit friendlier in the resource-usage department.

Facebook RAM Usage in Activity MonitorFacebook had only been loaded for 20 minutes; those two Google Docs have been open for days,
and allow a significant chunk of their used memory to be compressed.

The solution for this is simple: don't leave Facebook open in a browser tab, even in the background. You'll still get most of your notifications in Notification Center by enabling them in System Preferences > Notifications > Facebook.

Enjoy using your RAM for other things.

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Hm… In my Chrome browser, I had two tabs taking over 700MB. I killed the first one, and it was Feedly. I killed the second, and it was Google InBox. Hm… Finally, several items down, I saw another tab, taking up about 300MB, and killed that one, and that was FB. It’s been open on my Mac since last night, so I guess on Chrome, maybe it’s not so bad. Either that, or I don’t use so much because I have FBPurity installed. If so, then that’s one more benefit of FBPurity. grin

As an aside, Google InBox is also a site that tends to ramp up my CPU, and when that happens, I have to kill it, as it never gives it back. It just keeps taking more and more CPU cycles—sometimes claiming over100% (and I don’t know how it does that).

Also Google Play Music also tends to take over my CPU. In fact, as I think about it, the worst malefactor in Chrome is Google.

Lee Dronick

For Facebook I am using TinyBrowser for Facebook. It is a bare bones browser that only goes to Facebook and hides all of their Trending, recommended data mines, and such though you can click on a menu to see that stuff if you want. Currently it is using 66.8 MB, while Safari is using 382 MB. It is available in the App Store.



I’ve noted that behaviour as well, and it tends to eat RAM with little delay after logging in. For that reason, on those increasingly rare occasions that I go to FB, I always shut down the page when I finish.

Perhaps the good people at FB will look into that web browser behaviour as well.


I think you’re looking too closely at this.

At the time of this writing, I have loaded this particular page and had it loaded for about 5 minutes before I logged in to make this comment. Right now, http://www.macobserver.com is taking 473MB and climbing. This is just one article. Facebook’s functionality is nowhere near comparable to a single article.

If you watch these processes over time, you’ll see a lot of inconsistencies. I don’t really understand modern memory management, but I *really* think this is a red herring.


Tony Martin

I just checked mine. FB is 1.16 GB.

But YouTube is 1.34 GB.

Google News in Safari is 1.10 GB

Gmail is 934 MB


After I deleted the FaceBook app from my iPhone5, battery life has improved a lot.

Curiously though on my iPad Mini 4, the FB app seems to be much better behaved. Which got me to wondering if FB’s power pigging has something to do with the FB app constantly checking/accessing the GPS or seeing if the iDevice is on WiFi or Mobile data ?

Lee Dronick

Furbies, I wonder if turning Facebook’s access to Location Services would help with the battery life on the iPhone. I have it turned off off on mine, Zuck doesn’t need to know where I am and I never Facebook “check in” to a place.

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