The recent macOS Monterey has brought a critical issue that plagues many users – a memory leak error. Some applications appear to use insane amounts of memory (RAM), causing a “your system has run out of application memory” warning. Here’s why it’s so critical and what you can do to address it.
How memory leaks can affect your performance
Before we start talking about memory leakage, let’s briefly explain what memory is and why you should monitor it. Every Mac has a certain amount of memory, also called RAM, which allows it to perform a certain number of tasks at once. Have you ever noticed that your Mac starts to lag and slows down when you have a lot of tabs and apps open? That could be a problem with RAM. Modern Macs are powerful enough to handle many intense tasks, but there is always a limit.
Related: How much RAM do you need?
When a memory leak occurs, over time, your applications begin to use more and more RAM without freeing it up. The memory leak that macOS Monterey detects is definitely a system error because it is impossible for your applications to use so much RAM. For example, one user reported that their Control Center uses 26 GB of memory, which is more than one-third of the total RAM. This is crazy. Normally, the activities of the Control Center would not consume more than 50MB.
Memory leak causes macOS Monterey to freeze. Not literally. Your Mac will continue to run, but you won’t be able to run applications and do the work you normally do. Therefore, it is very important to solve the problem as quickly as possible.
Applications that show memory leaks on macOS Monterey
The first case of a leak in Monterey’s memory was reported on October 28 on Twitter. According to the report, Final Cut Pro and Adobe are the main cause of the problem because together they use about 30 GB of RAM. Later, other reports revealed problems with Apple’s Pages, Control Center and Keynote applications – applications that typically use a small amount of RAM. Currently, it seems that memory leaks can be caused by all types of applications on Monterey, both genuine Apple applications and those of third parties.
What if it’s not a mistake?
If you see a warning that says your system has run out of application memory, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an error. Maybe your Mac is really running too many apps, or your boot disk has little room to run apps. In this case, you will need to close some active processes or maybe even free up disk space to fix the problem.
How to recognize a memory leak error from a legitimate RAM problem? Usually applications use megabytes of RAM, not gigabytes. You may have a few apps that use up to 5GB, but anything that goes beyond that should be suspicious. In other words, when an application uses tens of gigabytes of RAM, it is definitely a memory leak.
iStat Menus is a great application for real-time RAM monitoring, which helps in understanding the amount of memory normally used. If there are red flags, you will recognize them very quickly.
It is worth noting that if you have a Mac with 4 GB of RAM, you will probably often receive alerts “your system has run out of application memory”. We recommend at least 8 GB so that you can run several intensive processes on your Mac at the same time. So if you have a 4GB Mac, consider adding extra memory.
How to fix the lack of RAM and memory on a Mac
Whether it’s a system error or a valid RAM problem, there are some things you can do to resolve the issue. It is best to approach this with Setapp at hand as it has several basic tools to reduce the use of RAM and CPU. Let’s see what they are.
Close background applications
Quit All is a simple but powerful utility that does one thing perfectly – closing applications. You can choose to close certain applications that are brutal in your RAM or close all active applications at once.
The warning you will see when your Mac runs out of RAM will suggest forcing some applications to close. This is not always the best thing because you may lose some changes to the files you have opened. Quit All gives you a much safer solution.
Our favorite thing is that Quit All can display and allow you to close all applications running in the background. They usually sip your Mac’s resources for no particular reason, so it’s great if you can close them all with one click.
Update or uninstall applications
If you notice that some applications constantly eat too much RAM, follow these steps:
- Open CleanMyMac X and click Updater
- Select all applications
- Click Update.
Updating applications often addresses their bad behavior and you could see that they use much less RAM and CPU after the update. If this is not the case, consider uninstalling those resource-hungry applications. CleanMyMac X also has a feature for that. Simply select Uninstaller from the left menu and uninstall multiple applications with one click.
Free up some space
It is true that insufficient disk space can be the reason why you get alerts about the application’s memory. Unfortunately, it’s not an easy task to free up a large chunk of disk space on a Mac because most of the files that take up that space are hidden in the depths of your operating system.
CleanMyMac X is the best tool to free up disk space by deleting all the clutter in the system, old logs, document versions and more. We recommend that you run a quick scan at least once a month.
Reduce CPU usage
The less CPU usage, the less memory is needed. App Tamer can help save CPU by slowing down or closing apps that are hungry for CPU. It runs in the background, so you don’t have to do anything – just install it on your Mac and receive live updates on how much CPU it saves.
Tip: If the RAM problem is critical and seriously disrupts your work, a quick solution is to go to App Tamer and click “Enable Essential System Processes”. Slowing down system processes is generally not recommended because they keep your Mac running, but it can help relieve memory if there is a memory leak error.
Alternatively, you can install the CPU and GPU monitor via the iStat menu to monitor CPU usage and manually tame the applications that lose the most resources.
Setapp has iStat menus, CleanMyMac X, App Tamer and Quit All – so you can try them all out for 7 days for free and continue to use for $ 9.99 a month. If you’re new to Setapp, it’s a productivity platform for Mac and iPhone that combines the power of 230+ apps to help you do more.
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