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This memory leak bug is killing performance in MacOS Monterey

Apple’s newest desktop operating system, MacOS Monterey, brings a handful of useful new features, but an assortment of issues as well. Some people are reporting memory leaks after upgrading to MacOS Monterey — some of which have even included warnings that the entire system has run out of memory.

While new operating system rollouts tend to have a few bugs, this one seems particularly bothersome. Memory leaks occur when an application uses more memory, or RAM, than is necessary. This happens because the process in question doesn’t release the memory that’s allocated to it after it’s closed and continues to use more memory, sometimes until there’s none left.

The Software Update screen in MacOS Monterey.

There have been a number of complaints across multiple forums, including Apple’s own support forums, Reddit, and Twitter. YouTuber Gregory McFadden tweeted a picture in which Control Center was using a whopping 26GB of RAM. By comparison, Final Cut Pro was only using 6GB of RAM,  and that’s a full-fledged professional video editing program. Control Center normally only uses a couple of megabytes of RAM.

The issue doesn’t seem to be limited to a particular Mac model either. Users with M1, M1 Pro/Max, and Intel versions have all reported memory leaks. One Firefox user with an Intel Mac reported Firefox usage of almost 80GB of RAM. While some users like Gregory McFadden had upwards of 64GB of RAM installed, a lot of others will likely have much lower RAM and will feel the pinch of a memory leak more acutely.

So glad I got 64GB of memory on my new Mac so I can use 26GB of it for control center… Wait… what. pic.twitter.com/inCOPaii1o

— Gregory McFadden (@GregoryMcFadden) October 28, 2021

This isn’t the only major issue with MacOS Monterey. Those with older Macs who install the new operating system are at risk of bricking their computer. Many of the users reported Macs that simply wouldn’t turn on at all after upgrading. While there does seem to be a temporary fix, that requires access to another Mac.

Lest the Windows faithful get cocky, Windows 11 users have also reported memory issues. Windows Insiders found that File Explorer consumes memory even after being closed. We were able to reproduce the leak on both Windows 11 and Windows 10. Fortunately, it seems this is limited to just the File Explorer and not random programs like MacOS’ issue.

Regardless, the memory leak on MacOS Monterey could just be the teething signs of a new operating system. Apple will hopefully issue a patch to fix the leak, although MacOS memory leaks seem to be a common occurrence. At any rate, it may be worth holding off upgrading your Mac for now.

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