Application memory error affecting many apps; Intel and M1

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Yesterday we reported a Mac app memory error that I first saw with the Mail app on my new 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 Max. A Twitter search revealed that other apps were also showing the same behavior, which appears to be mostly Apple’s own apps.

However, it is now clear from the growing number of reports that a very wide range of applications have been affected, and that it is happening on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs…

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From yesterday’s report:

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A number of Mac users are seeing an error message: “Your system has run out of application memory.” The error is caused by an app that uses gigabytes of memory – it reports using more than one Mac, until it eventually crashes. Among the culprits are Mail and Final Cut Pro.

The exact behavior varies. In the worst case, the user cannot change the focus from the alert window, which requires a forced restart.

Ignoring the window does nothing because it will appear again immediately.

Increasing reports of application memory errors

While early reports I found named Apple’s first-party apps like Mail, Final Cut Pro, Music, and even Finder, it’s since become clear that many other apps are experiencing the same problem.

Although some have seen it during Monterey betas – and some reports of instances on older macOS versions as well – the majority of reports follow users’ update to macOS Monterey 12.0.1.

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“Just started seeing this after the Monterey (12.0.1) upgrade. MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2018, four Thunderbolt 3 ports). 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7. 16 GB.”

“Back when macOS 12 was in beta, SongPop 2 was doing the same.”

“Same problem here with Mac Mini i5. Always Excel for the reason, it is not even possible to add a single line. “

“I got it yesterday (16” MBP M1 Max, 64GB RAM, 4TB SSD). I left most apps normally, no forced restart of the system, and didn’t see the problem today. … Needless to say, message Worrying on a 64GB device! Here’s a quick fix hopefully.”

Happened 6 times in DaVinci Resolve since acquiring the Monterey/M1 Max.

“I got it and the Mail was using 50 GB. M1 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.”

So here it is. M1 MacBook Air 16GB RAM. macOS 12.0.1. Mail plus Pages and Keynote consumed a whopping 80GB of storage and 90GB of memory when the alert started popping up. Needless to say, the exact same hardware, Running the same program under the same workloads, this alert didn’t sound in macOS 11. I have over 600GB of free disk space (on a 1TB drive), so there’s no issue with low swap space.”

“This happens to me with Safari 15 on an Intel MacBook Pro.”

“I have this problem using Apple Music on iMac M1 8GB since Big Sur :(“

“Every day. Pages that use 30 GB of application memory. A basic MBA model M1.”

It should be noted that outdated reports can be instances of an application that is legitimately running out of RAM.

The record seems to be the same 9to5Mac Reader who showed a screenshot of SourceKitService showing 308GB of usage on a 64GB device! Examples where usage exceeds physical memory may be wrong with the number displayed, or it may be legitimate, with applications that use disk swap space.

We’ve reached out to Apple for comment, and will update with any response.

Photo: Tyler Stallman

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