Memory leaks in macOS Monterey plague small number of users

in macOS
Complaints about memory leaks have started to surface following the release of macOS Monterey to the public, with users discovering unusually high amounts of memory being consumed by apps.

A memory leak screenshot showing Final Cut Pro as using 24.24GB [via Twitter/Tyler Stalman]
A memory leak screenshot showing Final Cut Pro as using 24.24GB [via Twitter/Tyler Stalman]

The release of a new operating system is typically accompanied by a period of teething issues, with users and developers discovering small issues that are later adjusted or fixed by Apple. On Monday, reports about memory leaks started to surface, specifically among Mac users who upgraded to macOS Monterey.

A memory leak is an issue when an application or a process falters and fails to release allocated memory properly. Over time, this could cause a service or an app to consume vast amounts of memory, reducing the resources available for use by others.

A number of complaints have been found on social media and the Apple Support forum, as initially reported by Macrumors, where users encounter the problem on their own Macs, running on macOS Monterey.

In the case of YouTube personality Tyler Stalman, he claims to repeatedly get warnings on his M1 Max-equipped MacBook Pro. The warning states he has "run out of application memory" with macOS advising to force quit memory-hogging applications, such as his 24GB instance of Final Cut Pro.

On Reddit, one user posted an Activity Monitor screenshot showing Control Center as occupying 9.19GB of memory, a macOS service that usually only consumes a few megabytes. A similar issue was noticed by Gregory McFadden on Twitter, with Control Center consuming over 26GB.

So glad I got 64GB of memory on my new Mac so I can use 26GB of it for control center... Wait... what.

-- Gregory McFadden (@GregoryMcFadden)

Another from Twitter posted an image on October 27 with the same out-of-memory warning window, with Firefox using 79.20GB of memory.

Memory leaks are quite a common issue with macOS applications, such as reports surrounding macOS Catalina affecting virtualization tools in July 2020.

While an irritant for those affected, there are still only relatively few complaints about the memory leaks in macOS Monterey. The low number of reports about the issue points to it being quite rare for users to experience, rather than an epidemic affecting many users in a major way.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 13
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    “plague” and “small number of users” don’t really jibe.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    M68000M68000 Posts: 702member
    At this point there may not be many Monterey users compared to others.  Need to have a much bigger number of users to find out how big this issue is.  I usually jump on phone iOS upgrades right away but wait a couple weeks or more for such a big macOS change.    Will sit this one out for a while until there is more news or a fix issued.
    edited November 2021
  • Reply 3 of 13
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    listening to music in the Music app in lossless, after almost two hours I got a memory situation. When I looked, Music was using about 238 GB of memory using swap, and yes, that's GigaBytes. This is in a new 16" 64GB M1Max Macbook Pro. I haven't had a chance to try it again.

    But it sounded amazing.
  • Reply 4 of 13
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    crowley said:
    “plague” and “small number of users” don’t really jibe.
    it just means that those people are constantly having the problem.
  • Reply 5 of 13
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,086member
    I'm guessing this is an M1(x)-based MacOS problem?  Have two Intel-iMacs running Monterey since day one and haven't (yet) experienced this out-of-memory situation.  I too use Final Cut Pro with huge projects, and various other memory-intensive apps with no problem.

    Interesting to see how this develops.
  • Reply 6 of 13
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,994member
    Oops.  This is embarrassing.   Is it only on M1 family Macs?   That is all I see mentioned in the article / replies 
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Probably the shared memory architecture - you can’t just dealloc memory now that cpu or gpu might need it.

    I’m speechless -  how that kind of a bug to make it to production for Apple!?!?
  • Reply 8 of 13
    rcfarcfa Posts: 1,124member
    memory leaks are a plague; the issue is, some people don’t notice them.
    people have phrases like „computers get tired and need to be rebooted after a while“ or „don’t leave apps running, just start, use,quit“, etc. when in fact one should be able to launch all apps at login, and never quit an app until an OS update requires a reboot…

    so, there‘s a HUGE difference between not knowing memory leaks are a problem and memory leaks not being a problem 
  • Reply 9 of 13
    I just got a MBP M1 Pro 16” and after connecting an external monitor via HDMI and restarting my internal display has never come back on again.  This was on the latest version of Monterrey.  

    Not even a logo on the screen during boot or recovery.  I’m absolutely shocked how this common use case could have caused such an issue.

    I pulled out my retired, but now quickly reinstated mid 2012 MBPr.  I have an Apple appointment tomorrow, but I’m absolutely terrified of plugging anything into it.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,819member
    I installed Monterey on my M1 iMac (16GB), rebooted and all was well. Shut the computer down to move it and upon rebooting, Safari went crazy. Watching memory usage, it ranged between all available memory and hundreds of MB until finally crashing. Currently, Safari is unavailable and I am relying on Firefox. I hope a fix is forthcoming soon. Early adopter problem :/  (loving it in general though).

  • Reply 11 of 13

    You like me and almost everyone who uses Monterey has the dreaded memory leak bug.  Apple will fix it eventually.

    Before then there is a simple temporary solution.  Presumably you have several desktops on your mac.  I have 11 at the moment.  Go to one you don’t use often and open up Activity Monitor(its in your applications and on every mac).  Leave it open all the time.  Click on the column that tells you the use of memory by system processes and apps.  Highlight(click on) any that look completely out of control, and then click on the little icon with the x in the middle of a circle.  Choose force quit. If its an app it will quit and you will have to restart it.  If its a process(weird names mostly) then it will quit but come back almost instantly in the small size it's supposed to be.  For me about 15 minutes ago I noticed that the most common culprit, Control Center(which normally uses about 26 mb of memory)  was slowly sucking more and was up to 144mb.  Earlier this week I found it at 14 GB.  

    You can keep these little buggers from stealing memory by just keeping an eye on them.  Be advised:  if WindowServer is up at 1gb then its probably doing it too, and if you force quit that one, your screen will go black for about 5 seconds while the OS puts it back, and then you will have to type in your machine password again.

    Hope this helps.  

  • Reply 12 of 13
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,686member
    I'd be careful on that one. Killing the window server is a forced logout, all apps are killed, all unsaved data is lost.  And 1Gb isn't that high really. Its at 1.5Gb for me and I am not in any kind of memory pressure. Better to wait for the alert. 

    macOS normally handles memory very very well. I just launched 62 applications from the Applications folder and memory isn't under pressure. Of course much of what they address is shared memory until I start using them.  After all that memory use is 13Gb out of 16Gb.  Swap is 231Mb, which is tiny as well. Windowserver is now 2Gb but Im not under pressure so I don't really care. 

    edited November 2021
  • Reply 13 of 13
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,686member
    The bug could also be in the Alert, not a memory leak. I'd be >50% on that, actually. If you look at the bottom of that screenshot it says memory used is 35GB, but the available memory is 64GB. So there shouldn't be a memory alert there, in fact that alert should almost never appear in a modern system, there's just too much disk space and RAM. Fun fact the window server is the process responsible for sending the alert, and the loginwindow process displays the alert.  Ancient processes. 

    So there's possibly a window sever bug here but not what is assumed. 
    edited November 2021
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