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Google disables the Mica material in Chrome due to high power consumption

A screenshot of Google Chrome Canary with the MIca material

Several weeks ago, Google brought the Mica Alt material to Chrome Canary on computers running Windows 11 version 22H2 and newer, significantly improving the browser's look. However, the new visuals have one hard-to-ignore downside: with Mica Alt enabled, Chrome consumes more power and drains your device's battery much faster. For that reason, Google decided to turn off the updated looks in Chrome Canary.

A new CL on Chromium Gerrit (via) reveals why Google has pulled the eye candy from its browser. According to the post, the change requires more optimization before it ships to all customers enabled by default, and the power usage in its current state "may not be good enough."

Although Chromium developers need more time to optimize the visuals, you can still enable Mica on Chrome's tab strip. Chrome Canary now ships with the material disabled by default, which you can turn on using an experimental flag.

  1. Go to chrome://flags.
  2. Search for "Windows 11 Mica titlebar" or use the direct chrome://flags/#windows11-mica-titlebar link.
  3. Change the flag's value from Default to Enabled and restart the browser.
  4. Enjoy the new looks.

The Mica material is a part of Google's upcoming visual revamp for its browser. Chrome Canary users are already testing the redesigned tab strip, new icons in the main menu, better fonts, and more. You can look at the latest stuff by downloading Chrome Canary from the official website. Note that Canary builds are bug-prone, so we do not recommend using the channel as your primary browser.

Google Chrome is not the only browser offering Windows 11's new UI materials. During Build 2023, Microsoft announced a new Microsoft Edge redesign with improved visuals, translucent UI elements, rounded corners for tabs, and other changes across the browser. Some of these improvements are already available in Microsoft Edge Canary, but they still need extra polish and fixes.

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