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The Great Suspender Tab Freezing Extension Is Dead, But You Don’t Need It Anyway

The Great Suspender loog in a block of ice.
Most browers “freeze” inactive tabs by default, eliminating the need for dangerous extensions. nelelena/Macrovector/Shutterstock

The Great Suspender, an extension used by over 2 million people, was removed from the Chrome Web Store for containing malware. No worries—Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft Edge now have built-in tools to put old tabs to sleep and save battery life, eliminating the need for The Great Suspender and similar extensions.

These built-in tab suspenders are enabled by default, throttling background tabs after a few minutes of inactivity. When you open a suspended tab, it will refresh and place you where you left off, just like how things work with The Great Suspender. In Microsoft Edge, you can also right click a tab and press “Snooze” to suspend it manually, a feature that’s missing from Chrome and Safari.

You can exclude websites from tab freezing in Edge by typing edge://system/settings into your search bar. Unfortunately, Chrome doesn’t have any customization options, although you can disable tab freezing after typing “chrome://flags” in your address bar and searching for “freeze.” Safari has no debug options for its tab freezing feature, but you disable tab freezing from the terminal if you wish.

This is what a rogue extension looks like when it’s tracking you! Cool! Lowell Heddings

But what if you aren’t happy with the default tab freezing tools in your browser? We still suggest avoiding browser extensions because they can see everything you do and often could contain malware. The Great Suspender is just another reminder that even the most popular and useful extensions can fall to malfeasance, usually after trading hands from one developer to another.

In fact, that’s exactly what happened to The Great Suspender! Dean Oemcke, the extension’s long-time developer, sold The Great Suspender to an unknown party late last year. Since then, the new developer slipped trackers into The Great Suspender, leading to its removal from the Edge store in November 2020 and, months later, its removal from the Chrome Web Store.

Some websites suggest that you install The Marvelous Suspender, a fork of The Great Suspender made before its fall from grace. But you don’t need a tab freezing extension anymore, as your browser already has built-in tools to throttle background tabs. Plus, extensions can change hands and go rogue at any time, and because The Great Suspender is dead, you can bet that bad actors will target similar tab-managing extensions in the future.

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