How to prevent Google Colab from disconnecting?


Q: Is there any way to programmatically prevent Google Colab from disconnecting on a timeout?

The following describes the conditions causing a notebook to automatically disconnect:

Google Colab notebooks have an idle timeout of 90 minutes and absolute timeout of 12 hours. This means, if user does not interact with his Google Colab notebook for more than 90 minutes, its instance is automatically terminated. Also, maximum lifetime of a Colab instance is 12 hours.

Naturally, we want to automatically squeeze the maximum out of the instance, without having to manually interact with it constantly. Here I will assume commonly seen system requirements:

  • Ubuntu 18 LTS / Windows 10 / Mac Operating systems
  • In case of Linux-based systems, using popular DEs like Gnome 3 or Unity
  • Firefox or Chromium browsers

I should point out here that such behavior does not violate Google Colab"s Terms of Use, although it is not encouraged according to their FAQ (in short: morally it is not okay to use up all of the GPUs if you don"t really need it).

My current solution is very dumb:

  • First, I turn the screensaver off, so my sreen is always on.
  • I have an Arduino board, so I just turned it into a rubber ducky usb and make it emulate primitive user interaction while I sleep (just because I have it at hand for other use-cases).

Are there better ways?

Answer rating: 169

Edit 2: As of March 2021, none of these methods will work as google added a captcha button that randomly pops up after some time.

Edit 1: Apparently the solution is very easy, and doesn"t need any JavaScript. Just create a new cell at the bottom having the following line:

while True:pass

now keep the cell in the run sequence so that the infinite loop won"t stop and thus keep your session alive.

Old method: Set a javascript interval to click on the connect button every 60 seconds. Open developer-settings (in your web-browser) with Ctrl+Shift+I then click on console tab and type this on the console prompt. (for mac press Option+Command+I)

function ConnectButton(){
    console.log("Connect pushed"); 
    document.querySelector("#top-toolbar > colab-connect-button").shadowRoot.querySelector("#connect").click() 

Answer rating: 60

Since the id of the connect button is now changed to "colab-connect-button", the following code can be used to keep clicking on the button.

function ClickConnect(){
    console.log("Clicked on connect button"); 

If still, this doesn"t work, then follow the steps below:

  1. Right-click on the connect button (on the top-right side of the colab)
  2. Click on inspect
  3. Get the HTML id of the button and substitute in the following code
function ClickConnect(){
    console.log("Clicked on connect button"); 
    document.querySelector("Put ID here").click() // Change id here