macOS Monterey continues to be plagued by an insidious memory leak problem that Apple does not seem able to fix.
So here are a few workarounds that you can try!
macOS Monterey Memory Leak : What’s Going On?
Ever since it was released on 25 October 2021, macOS Monterey has been plaguing users with an insidious memory leak problem.
And even as Christmas approaches, Apple is still unable to fix the problem. Here is what we know so far…
It Gobbles Up Insane Amounts Of Memory
The memory leak quietly eats up insane amounts of memory, creeping up on users without warning.
A single affected app like Firefox can gobble up almost 80 GB of memory. Even a critical macOS process like WindowServer can end up using 24 GB of memory, while the Mail app can use more than 100 GB of memory!
Unless you have been keeping an eye on memory usage, you will only realise this is happening when you get the warning that “Your system has run out of application memory” with a request to Force Quit apps you are not using.
It Appears To Be An OS Issue
This Monterey memory leak affects many different apps with no obvious culprit in sight :
- Internet browsers like Firefox and Safari
- Apps like Tweetbot and Final Cut Pro
- macOS features like Control Center, Mail and Finder
- macOS processes like WindowsServer
That strongly suggests that it is an operating system issue, and not a bug in any particular app.
It Affects Intel + Apple Silicon Models
This Monterey memory leak problem is not platform-specific, and affects both Intel and Apple Silicon models.
So you are not going to be able to “escape” this memory leak problem by upgrading to the new M1 Pro / Max-powered MacBook Pro laptops.
macOS Monterey Memory Leak : Possible Solutions
Unfortunately, Apple still does not seem to be able to plug this insidious macOS Monterey memory leak. So here are some solutions that may work for you…
Revert To Standard Mouse Pointer
One of the new features macOS Monterey is the ability to change the mouse pointer’s size, as well as its outline and fill colours.
However, the developers at Mozilla discovered that using a non-standard mouse pointer in macOS Monterey causes a large memory leak!
This memory leak is not limited to Firefox, but occurs anytime the non-standard mouse pointer changes its look, like when you mouse over a button or a text field.
To fix this, you will need to revert to a standard mouse pointer, and here’s how to do that :
Step 1 : Go to Settings and select Accessibility.
Step 2 : Tap on the Display option, and select the Pointer tab.
Step 3 : Move the Pointer size all the way to the left (Normal).
Step 4 : Click on the Reset button to the right of Pointer outline colour and Pointer fill colour.
Step 5 : Restart your Mac, and fingers crossed – this fixes your Monterey memory leak problem!
If you notice Finder using a prodigious amount of memory, that memory leak happens when you use the Find (⌘ F) feature in to search for files.
The easiest way to prevent this memory leak is to avoid using Finder’s Find feature. Try using the Search option on the upper right corner.
But once you get a Finder memory leak, you must relaunch it to release the leaked memory…
Option A : While in the Finder window, click on the Apple menu. Then press and hold the Shift key and click on Force Quit Finder.
Option B : Click on the Apple menu. Click Force Quit (Command + Option + Escape). Then select Finder and click on Relaunch.
Limit Use Of Control Center
Some users have reported that the Control Center can use upwards of 20GB of RAM, but most users fortunately do not encounter such terrible waste of memory.
This memory leak is easily reproducible – every time you use a control, it uses a little more RAM but does not release it.
Unfortunately, there is no way to release the leaked memory short of restarting the computer. So the best way to avoid this memory leak is to limit the use of Control Center.
Restart Apps Whenever Memory Use Is Too Much
Well, this seems obvious, but I have to throw it in anyway.
If any app, whether it’s Safari or Final Cut Pro starts using way too much memory, just close and reopen it. That should quickly recover the leaked memory.
Of course, this is only a stopgap solution until Apple releases a fix for this truly pesky memory problem in macOS Monterey…
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
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