Ways to avoid keeping so many browser tabs open

I don’t know about you, but I need to Airs to have a lot more RAM before I can use one.

Most of that’s due to the fact that I have hundreds of tabs open across 4 or 5 browsers (some very active, most open for reference for months or longer).

Maybe there’s a better way to handle my “workflow” (and I’m open to suggestions), but that’s a big use of RAM for me.

I got my MBP M1 2021 with 32 GB RAM just to future-proof it. Not sure how much is in use. I do have a lot of tabs open, and two browsers. But nowhere as many as you have.

Switch to Arc. :slight_smile:


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Instead of keeping so many tabs open you can bookmark the websites using a bookmark manager that is accessible from any web browser.

I also do research and I currently have over 16,000 bookmarks stored using BookMacster. BookMacster costs $22.95 with an old style license where major version upgrades are available at a 30% discount.

One of the features of BookMacster that may be attractive to you is being able manage project bookmarks via dedicated “collections.” Rather than syncing bookmarks among browsers, I opt for letting BookMacster manage everything in a central database. Bookmarks are quickly accessible using an icon in the Finder Menu Bar.

I’ve been using BookMacster for years now, having switched from URLM Pro when it looked like it was going under but it was ultimately revived & is still available.

Another option is to use DEVONthink to manage project bookmarks if you already use the program.

I’ve used DEVONthink Pro for around 20 years. I cannot imagine successfully keeping track of all of my different files without being able to easily view/edit/annotate most of them without needing to open another program. If you are a TidBITS member DT is available at a 15% discount. It is also discounted up to 25% during various sales including the annual Winterfest, Summerfest, Black Friday sale and others.

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First off, maybe @ace might want to move this discussion to another thread :slight_smile: as it really isn’t pertinent to the topic at hand.

Second, I’ve found that if I bookmark something, it might as well have never been visited. The open windows are like the file folders of yore sitting in a stepped rack, you can see them and know what’s needing attention, though, in my case, windows sometimes stick around for far too long virtually.

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I second that.

I use Safari’s reading list to hold onto things and then periodically go through it.

On the other hand, the computer is a tool for your use. Get the tool that works the way you want it to…which in this case should probably be a MacBook Pro with lots of RAM.

I have an older friend who keeps a LOT of tabs open, and has a couple of time lost them all, to the point that “Open All Windows from Last Session” doesn’t restore them either. This is frustrating for them (and me, trying to help from a distance).

In fact it just happened again yesterday. I’ve searched for any settings files I could pull off a Time Machine backup to restore them, but have come up empty. Any ideas?

macOS Safari is very good reducing the RAM usage of open tabs. When they’ve not been looked at for a while they are unloaded and take up next to no RAM. It’s not zero, and it depends on the properties or the tab like history stack and cookies and such, but importantly it doesn’t include the actual content of the page.

Anyway, I’m guilty of having 100+ tabs open almost all the time so I use a Safari extension to nag me with the number of open tabs. When it goes over a preset limit (I pick 100) a red badge appears on the toolbar icon, which is just annoying enough for me to do something about it. Rinse and repeat.

There are similar extensions for other browsers.


It’s possible, I’ve done it. I can never remember the exact folder and files.

So, my process to find them is using Sloth app (could also use Activity Monitor but it’s not as easy) to see what open files are being used by Safari.

Here we go (to restore: I quit Safari and then Time Machine restore either all the SafariTabs* files, or the whole parent folder - can’t remember which!) in Sloth you can right click any one of these files and do a Show in Finder, then invoke Time Machine using the Finder toolbar cog button, which makes the whole process very easy.


ps: recent Safari versions will let you reopen whole windows worth from the History > Recently Closed menu, if you haven’t already closed Safari. I’ve used this too!

In Safari, you can create tab groups for related tabsand then open and close them from the sidebar. One advantage to doing that over collapsing the tabs into bookmark folders is that you can actively maintain the tab groups so that when you are finished with and close a tab, it will vanish from the group.

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Hello Fellow Tab-a-holic!

I feel like a hoarder. I overload one browser and download another. But that means if I have to open an old browser, I have to them open all the tabs else I’ll lose them.

Bookmarking also didn’t work for me especially when I am doing research

I bought Devonthink a few years ago and that has helped corral my tabs a bit. I hope to get everything over there at some point, because it’s really nice to use a browser when it’s not overloaded by 200+ tabs. But so many are “temporary” (really!)


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What are you folks doing that you need hundreds of tabs open? I couldn’t possibly have hundreds of papers, notes or jobs on my desk and expect to get anything done.

I don’t use tabs at all, just windows. If I want to access something I open it, then close it when I’m done. Maybe it’s my OCD tendency but leaving all those tabs open would be like leaving a month’s worth of dirty clothes on the floor of my room - yuck.

I rarely bookmark anything anymore, preferring to use Notes to keep well organised folders and lists of sites I wish to organise. Added benefit is the videos I save can be viewed in Notes for a quick reminder.

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Living my best life. It’s just how I’m wired. I get a lot done, regardless of having so many open tabs.

In fact, the reason I don’t close a lot of my tabs is because I’m so busy getting stuff done I consider the time required to make the decision whether or not to close a tab to be a waste of time and energy.

So I’d rather save my decision-making energy for something more important than whether or not to close a tab.

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I used to hit this every so often when I was using Chrome. At first, there was a single file that could be restored, but at some point, Google changed its approach and I had to restore the entire Chrome folder.

~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome

When I get more than four or five tabs open at once, I start to feel overwhelmed and treat them as I do papers accumulating on my desk: deal immediately with any that can be dispatched with less than a few minutes’ effort, and relegate the rest to a specific task on my to-do list.

I was intrigued by all the discussion of the Arc browser, but never tried it because it seemed to be all about helping organizing tabs. I currently have three tabs open in my browser: one a countdown of days until I move, one to my digital garden that I update daily, and this tab for TidBITS Talk. I’ll close this one before I open any others.

I understand people who use lots of tabs, but for me they just become another good-intentions-pile.

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I avoid multiple tabs by opening multiple browsers: Safari, Firefox, Brave, Orion, etc. :smile:

I rarely use more than two or three tabs at a time and cannot see any situations where I might use more. But I am fascinated to learn that having many tabs open is common and also how folks are using multiple tabs.

Options are good.

I’d be interested to see if there’s a correlation between number of open tabs in one’s browser and the amount (or lack) of clutter on one’s physical desk. :grin:


I’m a window closer. My wife has hundreds of tabs open.

Boggles my mind but it is one facet among many of the mysteries of other people.

I guess if I want to keep something around but not archive it I would add it to Agenda for my work or my Notion inbox for College.

If I want to archive I would add it to the relevant DevonTHINK database.

My wife on the other hand would, eh, not.

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My open tabs are for many reasons.

One type I do close when done is client work, because when I’m done working for the day, I am done working.

But personal tabs are varied, and usually some sort of research. Lately I’ve been researching speakers so I have a number of tabs open for that: a speaker comparison chart, a couple of manufacturers, amazon reviews. There are things I buy that take awhile to figure out, because it’s not my line of work and I have to really consider the parts I am getting.

I have tabs open for a place I want to stay on a trip - I’ve actually lost that one before and it took a long time to find it again. I’m sure I put it in my DevonThink trip folder but until I actually sit down one day and look, I won’t close it.

I have tabs for the upcoming solar eclipse and camera gear for it. A few more for an event I’m doing next week.

I will usually find Craigslist and eBay tabs if something caught my eye over the week. Sometimes a concert video I want to listen to while at my desk, which means I have it open on this computer but will eventually play it on the iMac in my office. So I leave it open to remind me.

I do try and go through some of them while sitting on the couch.

For me, tabs are kind of like sticky notes. I am a big brain dump person and this is a brain dump for me, but in a tab vs a piece of paper.

If I don’t go through them frequently, they are an interesting slice of life when I get back to them. I personally feel some of this (for me) has to do with how complex (too many choices) and expensive some things have become over the decades. Even buying a case of paper the other day - would you expect Hammermill to be cheaper than the Staples brand? It wasn’t! And now I am seeing reams of paper that are less than 500 sheets, cases less than 10 reams. I really had to pay attention to make sure I got exactly what I wanted and it took about 3 tabs because I was comparing pricing too.