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Why Do Chrome and Other Browsers Reload Pages on Android?

There have been countless times with both Google Chrome and Firefox where my pages reload at seemingly random. If I switch through tabs, open another app, or just let my phone idle, one of my tabs is bound to reload when I go back to it. So why is your browser reloading a page when you’ve already loaded all of it previously?

Related: Best Android Browser 

This actually has to do with how Android is designed in general, which I’ll get to in just a bit. Since the problem here is Android itself, there isn’t a single fix, as much as there are workarounds for the issue. After I explain what Android is doing to your browser, and why, I’ll cover how you can work around it.

Why Does Android Force Your Browser to Reload?

Android is an operating system that is always learning, and always reallocating resources as it sees fit according to your usage habits. This means that if your Android sees what you’re spending most of your processing power to accomplish, it’ll move all of the power it can over to that task.

For example, let’s say you’re playing a game on Android, but at the same time, you’ve got Chrome open to look at a walkthrough. You look up what you’re supposed to do for your game, switch back to it and start playing until you need help again. When you switch back to your browser, you see a flash of the page you were on, and then suddenly a white screen.

The page is reloading, even though you were just on it minutes ago. While your Android kept your browser open in the background, it actually closed the page you were on to give you as much power as you possibly could for the game you’re playing.

Something that makes this problem show up frequently is when a user plays with how Android systems work when allocating powers and resources. The easiest, and most common way to do that is with task killers and cache cleaners.

Killing a process to free up RAM hurts your Android in the long run, even though it gives you a short term boost, so i can’t recommend using them.

How do You Stop Your Browser from Reloading?

So you know why your browser is constantly reloading when you’re away from it, but how can you stop that if it’s a problem with Android itself? The short answer is that you can’t, but you can change a few habits here and there to work around the issue.

Since what usually makes your browser reload is RAM being allocated elsewhere, avoiding RAM intensive activities should keep your tabs loaded as long as you don’t have too many of them.

You’ve probably noticed that even if you’re only on your browser tabs can reload, and that’s usually because you have a few running at once that Android decides to “close” without telling you.

The operating system itself takes an “Android knows best” approach to the whole thing, and leaves user decisions out of it.

Now let’s say you’ve only got one tab open at all times, and your page starts to reload at certain intervals during the day even while you’re just in your browser. Since you’re only in one place, and Android won’t reallocate RAM you’re actively using there’s another problem at work here.

Here are a few steps to take to get to the root of the problem.

1. Clear Your Cache

Besides a soft reset, wiping your cache is one of the first things you can do to get to the heart of a problem, or at least stop it from showing up again.

If you’ve never cleared your cache before, then you can learn how to here.

2. Reset Browser Preferences

Have you changed any of your browser settings recently, or gone through an update that changed things around? If you haven’t had this reloading problem before this, then your settings are probably to blame.

Restoring your default settings is different for every browser, but for the most part how to get to your settings is the same. In most browsers there’s a series of either vertical dots, or a hamburger menu that opens up different options, in there you’ll find your settings.

Here you’re free to tweak anything you have access to, but unless you have a “Restore to default” option, you need to toggle and switch setting individually. If you don’t notice anything out of place, try another step.

3. Uninstall and Reinstall

One of the next steps to fixing any app is uninstalling it, and then reinstalling it again. It’s basically a more severe version of turning it off and on again where it takes a little more time. This usually fixes most common issues with an app if you’re running into problems you haven’t before.

4. Try a Different Browser

Unfortunately, if one browser isn’t working, then switching to another one is less of a fix, and more of a workaround. If you’re using Chrome, try giving Firefox a shot, or vice versa to see if you run into the same problems.

5. Close Other Apps

How many different apps do you have up and running while you’re going through your browser? While I don’t recommend using task killers, closing out of an app you’re keeping in standby might make your browser less likely to reload when switching through tabs, or browsing.

Conclusion

In most cases when your browser is reloading when you’re looking away from it it’s because of Android itself. Android reallocates what you were using to browse for whatever else you’re looking at now, making you need to reload what you were looking at before when you come back.

The best way to deal with this is with proper RAM management, an understanding of how Android learns to adapt to your habits, and a little patience.

If your browser is still reloading constantly, please describe the problem and we’ll do our best to help.

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16 Comments

    1. Hi, Spinor! Lucky you! While you haven’t experienced this particular headache, Opera, like all mobile browsers does sometime reload tabs. Of course, it’s not Opera’s fault – it’s Android’s.

      1. There’s 2 kind of Opera browser; the regular Opera Browser – which indeed automatically reloads tab too and the other broswer is Opera Mini. The latter is like a lite version (been using this since 2012 for low ram phones), and it doesn’t reload tabs automatically.

        1. Jade, yes Opera Mini does automatically reset tabs that it thinks are inactive (just like Dolphin mini, and all other 11 browsers I’ve tried). It’s part of Android’s memory management. What you’re confusing it with is background pre-loading, which speeds up webbrowsing.

    2. Jora — oh yes, Opera does reload tabs. Constantly. Just like every other Android browser out there, and I’ve tried 11 of them. In fact, it just happened to me SIX TIMES, which is how i found this article. And in each of those SIX TIMES, I was in the middle of posting the same freaking message, but found myself having to do some fact checking on another site. So I opened another tab. Less than a minute later, I went back to my message and the page had reloaded. My message was gone. And we’re not talking about one paragraph. We’re talking about a 4 paragraph academic post with many references and links. SIX FREAKING TIMES I HAD TO START OVER.

      I’ve residues this problem MANY times so my workaround is usually to compose the message on a writing app,or even Gmail (which automatically saves drafts), and then copy the finished message to my academic websites. However, today’s post needed special characters and formatting, which can’t be copied and pasted. So I took a chance and wrote it directly on the site. SIX FREAKING CHANCES. And I lost all my work each time. SIX FREAKING TIMES. Which translates to about 2 hours of lost time.

      I finally gave up and will wait until I get home to use my Windows computer. In the meantime, I voice recorded all my thoughts so that i wouldn’t forget them, and came here for solutions — and to vent.

      It’s 2019 and the problem still exists. There has to be a way to lock down pages, as one can in Windows browsers.

      So don’t tell me that Opera doesn’t reset webpages.

      1. I am using Android 9 in 2020, I fault Android. I had a Galaxy Note 4, Android 6, 2014, i did not have this problem. Now my phone has 6GB memory and 3 G is always empty and the storage is 128G and a fast CPU, much more modern than the CPU in 2014, but with nearly every browser the pages are restarted when i switch to other apps. this is a nasty feature added by Android and they do not correct it

    3. Opera sure does reload tabs. I have used only Opera for years because it is the only browser that provides true tabs on devices smaller than a tablet (i.e. phones) and it reloads like a mother. Of course, I usually have 10 or more tabs open at a time, so…

  1. I use opera and it reloads tabs a lot. I even had just one tab open and it still reloads. My phone has 1gb of ram and it is android 8.1

  2. Chrome keeps switching web pages, will be reading & just switches, extremely annoying!

    I have pop-ups blocked, refresh stopped, cleared my cache, everything, still happening.

    What can I do to stop this?

  3. Terrible article. Android doesnt cause reloading. Chrome is notorious for auto reloading pages. Everyone hates the function. Google apparently put it there to annoy everyone.

  4. I’m not entirely sure if this is the same situation but since getting my new V40 with 8.1 my tabs (I use CM Browser) don’t reload but completely disappear which has never happened before.

    There are a lot of times when I’ll be writing a note (or what have you) from my browser into a note program so I’ll be going back and forth when suddenly all my tabs are closed and I’m back to the main page like I opened my browser for the first time.

    I’ve never experienced this issue before with the V20 and 8.0

    Is this the same thing everyone is talking about or do I have a completely separate problem.

    Thanks

  5. Yes, of course Opera Mini also reloads pages if you switch tabs. If more people complained about this it would actually probably be fixed but..

  6. Hello all,

    Has anyone tried reporting this to the vendors? I wll report it to Samsung. Using Samsung DeX as a desktop replacement but this “feature” is a serious show-stopper.

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