MacBook is one of the top preferences for users who want to purchase a personal laptop. Unlike Windows laptops, you do not need to worry much about virus and security issues with Mac. New MacBook will work superfast and you will love using the laptop for a while. However, after some time you will start seeing the typical problems like storage full or memory issue. This happens especially after updating the OS to the latest version that may conflict with old apps. Here are some of the suggestions you can try, if you are frequently seeing “Your System Has Run Out of Application Memory” issue in Mac.
What Does Run Out of Application Memory Mean?
Every app need sufficient memory and storage space for running properly on Mac. First, Mac will use the Random Access Memory (RAM) for storing runtime processes. When RAM is used full, Mac will start using the main drive (virtual memory) and swap the usage to keep the apps running. Though the warning message shows “run out of application memory”, it could actually mean that you are running with less storage space.
So, the warning message appears in two potential cases:
- You are running too many apps consuming RAM.
- Apps you are using try to store lot of runtime data or temporary files in your main storage drive.
How to Fix Your System Has Run Out of Application Memory Issue?
Before we proceed with fixes, it is necessary to understand the capacity of your Mac. In general, you should have 8GB RAM and 128GB or more storage space.
- Click on the Apple menu showing on the top left corner of your Mac. This menu appears all the time on your Mac, regardless of the application you use.
- Select “About the Mac” option.
- “Overview” section will show the hardware details and you can check the memory here.
- Go to “Storage” tab to check the use of storage space.
This information will give an overall idea of how much memory and storage available on your Mac before you try to increase them.
1. Shutdown and Reboot Mac
As mentioned, runtime processes can occupy plenty of RAM and cause out of memory issue. The simple and best solution is to shut down your Mac and reboot so that all hanging processes will be terminated and release the memory. Therefore, before trying any other options make sure to first reboot or restart your Mac and do your regular tasks to see the warning message is popping up again.
2. Check Application Memory Usage in Activity Monitor
If restarting did not fix your issue, then it’s time to look for the details of which app is consuming more memory. In most cases, there could be apps started and working in the background which you are not aware of.
- Press “Command + Shift” to open Spotlight Search.
- Type “activity” and click on the “Activity Monitor” app from the results.
- Go to “Memory” tab in the app and then click on “Memory” column header to sort the items in descending order.
- Now, you can clearly see which app is consuming more memory in your Mac.
As you can see in the below screenshot, “WindowServer” process was occupying 2.39GB of memory out of 8GB RAM available. However, this is a legitimate macOS process used for showing icons, windows and other elements in the screen. The problem is that this type of processes are not shown in the out of memory warning which only shows the applications.
Double click on the process that consumes more memory to see the details. On the pop-up that appears, you can see the real memory size which is just 100.7MB for WindowServer process as you can see in the below screenshot.
If you see any other apps consuming more memory, simply click “Quit” and then again click “Quit” in the pop-up to close the process. However, for WindowServer, make sure to save all your work and close all the apps to see the change in memory usage. We have closed all other apps and checked the memory usage was still around 2.4GB level. Therefore, we decided to “Quit” that process. It will show you a warning and click on “Force Quit” button to terminate the process which will instantly logout you from the Mac.
Now, login back and check the memory usage in Activity Monitor app to see the locked memory is released. We have opened multiple apps and waited for hours to see the WindowServer process consumes maximum ~300MB and nowhere nearer to the previous usage of 2.39GB.
The only strange thing was, it still shows the “App Memory” as 2.98GB which is incorrect when summing up the details. However, this actually resolved the problem and the memory warning never appeared again.
Note: Wired memory is a reserved portion out of RAM for running system processes and can’t be used for any other purposes. Similarly, cached files contain the memory occupied by app caches for improving performance. You can flush cache in Mac to release this portion. However, it will rebuild again when start using the apps. Therefore, you should target to cleanup the “App Memory” to fix run out of application memory problem.
3. Cleanup Mac Storage – System Data or Other Category
The next option is to free up storage space on your Mac. The greyed part in the Mac storage is “System Data” in macOS Monterey. In earlier macOS versions, this will show as “Other” category. If you see large amount of storage under “System Data” or “Other” category, follow the instructions in this article to clear the storage space.
For general purposes, check this article on how to increase storage space in Mac. In general, you have the following options:
- Use Mac storage management utility to find and delete large junk files.
- Go to “Applications” folder and delete all unused apps.
- Cleanup temporary files on your Mac and browsing history.
4. Close Multiple Browser Tabs
If you have opened large number of tabs in your browser, make sure to close all the tabs and check the memory usage. Using multiple tabs consume RAM and lead to crashing your apps or slowing down the Mac. In most cases, you will see warning messages like run out of application memory when using multiple tabs in Chrome Mac version. Probably you need to switch back to Safari and check if the issue persists.
5. Uninstall Browser Extensions
Browser extensions can do more harm than good you might think of. Sometimes, your extensions are not updated for the latest OS version or collects large amount of data consuming RAM. You can disable all extensions in your browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox or any other browser you use) and check it helps to resolve the problem.
6. Close Memory Consuming Apps
As you can see in the warning pop-up that shows “your system has run out of application memory”, it will also suggest the list of apps with memory consumption. Though this is not at detailed level like “Activity Monitor” app, you can still select the app and click on “Force Quit” button to close it.
This works most of the time as the app will release the memory and storage space.
7. Check Apps That Create Temporary Storage Files
This action is a case by case step depends on the type of app you use. For example, apps like Snagit and Camtasia will keep large number of files in temporary library. Closing this type of apps will help to release the occupied memory and fix the out of application memory issue.
8. Cleanup Memory and Storage with Third-Party Apps
Next option is to use a third-party app to flush the app memory. This is an easy one-click operation compared to using “Activity Monitor” app. There are plenty of free and premium cleaner apps available in Mac App Store for this purpose. For example, you can use the Cleaner One app to carry out different cleaning activities.
- View memory and CPU usage along with the size of junk files on your Mac.
- Click “Refresh” button to flush unused app memory which will fix the run out of application memory issue.
- Scan and delete junk, large and duplicate files to cleanup storage space.
9. Check OS and App Update
Sometimes, macOS can have bug that could trigger false storage and memory related warnings. The same thing can happen when using outdated apps in your app.
- For apps, go to App Store and check under “Updates” section.
- Go to “Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update” and check any OS update is available.
If you are third-party apps downloaded from websites, confirm with the developers that they are compatible with the latest OS version.
10. Increase RAM
If none of the above suggestions work for you, then the last option is to increase the physical RAM in your Mac. Though 8GB RAM is sufficient for general purposes, you may need additional capacity for using graphics design apps or high-definition games. Even you need increased memory when connecting to 4K external monitors to your Mac. However, increasing physical memory is not an easy task and you may need to get help from nearest Apple Store support. Check out this article to get complete details on how to increase the RAM in your Mac.
In our case, closing the memory consuming apps from Activity Monitor resolved the problem. Also, it is good idea to use less number of open tabs in browser and clean up your Mac to increase storage space to avoid potential problems. We hope one of the above suggestions helped you to fix run out of application memory issue in your Mac.