Some users who have recently upgraded to macOS Monterey experience an error known as a “memory leak,” a scenario where a particular macOS process or application has failed and has been running in the background for an extended period of time which uses an unusually large amount of memory or RAM.
It is difficult to determine exactly which models of Mac computers are affected; However, the range is fairly large, including the newly launched 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. Reports on Twitter, Reddit, the MacRumors forums, and the Apple Support Communities consist of users warning their Mac that the system is “running out of application memory” or that certain applications are using a ridiculous amount of RAM on the Activity Monitor.
Some reports cite the macOS control center as the main culprit, with YouTuber Gregory McFadden sharing a screenshot of the control center with up to 20GB of RAM on his 64GB M1 Max 16-inch MacBook Pro. Other users also share similar experiences on the MacRumors forums and Reddit.
Another group of related reports includes Mozilla Firefox. As shown in the tweets below, Firefox takes up an incredible amount of memory for some users, up to 80GB for one user.
Firefox and Control Center related reports aside, widespread reports from users on various platforms suggest that the more common error is the “Your system is out of application memory” popup.
The pop-up appears to be seeing users despite minimal usage of their Macs with significant storage space. In some cases, some users have suggested that restarting the Mac will help, while others say the popup will reappear shortly afterwards. A user in the Apple Support Communities noted their experience:
Since downloading Monterey, I keep getting “Your system is out of application memory”. This has only occurred since the Monterey download. When investigating activity monitor pages, the main culprit seems to be consuming 18GB and more! Is this evidence of a memory leak for Pages running the Monterey operating system? Restart makes no difference.
Mac users on the MacRumors forums (1, 2, 3, 4th), the Apple Support Communities (1, 2), and Reddit, note similar experiences. Just today we reported through user reports that the macOS Monterey update was blocking some older Mac computers. Given this, and the memory usage issues for some users, it may be best if users who are still using macOS Big Sur wait until the second version of MacOS Monterey to upgrade.