Skip navigation

kernel_task consumes a lot of RAM in early 2011 MBP, sometimes Finder too

171697 Views 215 Replies Latest reply: Mar 17, 2014 9:46 AM by Attila RSS
  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    Yes, it is.

  • Cyberpundit Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    And what's the solution to this?


    I am on a 2010 MBP 15 inch. My "Kernel Task" is at nearly 4GB on an 8GB machine. Just what is this idiotic task and what's Apple doing about it?     

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    Kernel task is the heart of OS X. Would you like Apple to remove it, or what did you have in mind?

  • Cyberpundit Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    And this heart needs 4GB of RAM? What dumb OS needs half of the entire memory for its functioning? Fedora or FreeBSD with their X-Windows on take nearly 1% of that.

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    Then use them. Your manner here doesn't encourage anyone to offer any suggestions. Good luck to you.

  • Cyberpundit Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Then move on to helping other people.


    Hope Apple reads these forums and sees just how many people are having problems with their lovely OS needing 4GB of RAM to do its tasks. This makes it more of a resource hog than even Vista. If we get 16GB of RAM or even 1TB of RAM if it existed, the lovely OS will take 500GB of it. I'm sure this makes sense to you and allows you to maintain your super gracious manner.      

  • wyager Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    @Eww, for Christ's sake, just stop posting in this thread. You literally haven't helped a single person in it. All of your posts have been derogatory, condescending, or just useless.





    4GB is much more than most of us are experiencing. Is it that much directly after a reboot?

  • Cyberpundit Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Thanks wyager. After a fresh boot, it's about 600MB. The 4GB is what it's running now. I booted last evening my time.


    Based on some suggestions on these forums i downloaded "gfcardstatus" and let it run. Without it, the whole system was crashing (that gray screen with white text -- similar to windows blue screen -- that takes over and says please reboot), but at least it's not crashing now, but the overall experience is sluggish and the mouse cursor just hangs sometimes because it's so slow. 


    Because of my industry, I have to work with large video files. I wonder if the deleting/adding/deleting of lage video files (over 6GB or so each file) has defragmented my system? Or what? Why's it taking so much for the kernel_task?


    Many thanks for any ideas..

  • wyager Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    You were getting kernel panics before you installed gfxCardStatus? That's definitely not normal. I'd say you have a very tangible problem that is probably worth a visit to the apple store.

  • poochie2 Calculating status...

    Got 16 GB of RAM and kernel_task jumped to 1.29 GB in a few hours... I wonder what did Apple do to make iPads run with half a gig... will try booting in 32 bit even if it takes a little bit more


  • dave1click Calculating status...

    Hi Guys - Newbie here. Recently switched from Quad core PC (4years old) 4G of RAM to a MBP i7 8G


    Using Photoshop CS5, Lightroom, with half a dozen passive tabs open on Firefox, Itunes blasting out and..... nothing else. I'm often left with a DOZEN OR SO MEGS OF RAM!!!


    Now, twenty years ago I'd be really happy with this but I'm now rather bored of that spinning wheel of death.


    In truth - My Mac has been pretty stable but not much faster than my old PC. I expected more.


    Paid £35 for an Apple support call (Yet I'm still in warranty)


    Paid £35 petrol for a trip to Genius store in Manchester. The man smiled at me and said my Apple is perfect - It's obviously a software issue.


    So guys.... It's a software issue. The MacPro seems to not like CS5 or Lightroom, or maybe even I-Tunes, or Firefox. (I've re-installed everything and followed Adobes best practices to the letter. Apart from putting my scratch discs on a seperate partition) - What does it like? Can it cope with word documents or spreadsheets?


    Since returning from Genius, I've tried running aplications without CS5 and Lightroom. OK, now I have a whopping 3G of RAM left. Any idea why 5G of RAM is being eaten up by basic stuff?


    If I'd have waited a few more weeks I could have bought a MBP with 16G of RAM. Sadly I'm maxed out at 8.


    Apple support isn't helping. Honestly have no idea why Apple supporters are so loyal to the brand. (It looks dead sexy though)

  • dave1click Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    for your info...


    i7, 8G RAM


    only Firefox open with this tab




    Activity Monitor


    Now I have 5G free (whoopiedooo) - but 3G is being used up. (I guess on running that lovely, stable operating system we're all so proud of)Screen shot 2012-02-08 at 15.53.12.png


    Kernal_task is holding steady at 882Megs


    I'm flying! - Er, unless I actually want to do something...

  • dave1click Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    So after around half an hour of activity. You'll see from the grabshot...


    I've been working on one layered file. (Admittedly a large one with 20 layers)


    Closed the file down.


    Now cs5, Lightroom Firefox and Finder running.


    1.57G free now. (used more than 6G RAM)


    It seems that CS5 is hogging 2.3 G of RAM, even though the file was closed over ten minutes ago.


    Anyone know why this memory stays Used even when programmes are idle? This normal?


    Screen shot 2012-02-08 at 16.57.44.png

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    Dave1click: I don't know whether you've seen the article linked below:



    It certainly won't answer all your questions, but it's a useful starting point for understanding memory usage, allocation and reporting in OS X. What you know from using Windows is not all applicable to the Mac.

  • wyager Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Dave, we feel your pain. However, you might be able to palliate the problem with photoshop memory usage.


    There are several probable reasons that CS5 is using so much RAM, ranging from a problem on Adobe's end to a problem with the OS (which is certainly the case with Kernel_task).


    I recommend installing the developer tools, and then running the "purge" command in the terminal. This command tells the kernel to dump all inactive memory, and might perform some garbage collection functions as well. I'm not really sure, because the man page is outdated, but the function works.


    Objective-C (the language used to make most OS X applications) is not garbage-collected, and has weird memory management, so a lot of applications end up accidentally "using" a huge chunk of memory that they're not actually using. It's a little hard to explain, but if you're programming-oriented, you should be able to google search for more info.

1 ... 7 8 9 10 11 ... 15 Previous Next


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (4)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.